chapter  6
Philadelphia T-Square Club
WithDreck Spurlock Wilson
Pages 5

Named after the architect’s most versatile instrument the Philadelphia T-Square Club was organized April 9, 1883—the second in America—by 13 esteemed, architects and draughtsmen to offer training through drawing competitions and lectures on European monuments, funerary architecture, India ink, charcoal and pencil wash and water color drawing, garden design and mosaics and Saturday afternoon esquisse sessions. Julian Abele had been the sole Negro member since his Third Year at the university in 1897. Abele’s oeuvre was significantly influenced by club maître and America’s leading beaux arts educator architect Paul Philippe Cret. The year Julian joined membership peaked at sixty-three. Three decades later the club had shrunk to thirty-one “mostly older men.” Ultimately the T-Square Club was unable to break-off its love affair with Neo-Classicism and parry the credential-obsessed Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects. On April 19, 1933, one hundred and twenty-five past and current members—not including Abele—showed up at the Grub Club on the 2nd floor of the clubhouse to party until the lights were turned off.