Duke University Debuts an Online Guide of Julian Abele’s Contributions to Its Campus

Julian AbeleIn 1902 Julian Frances Abele was the first African American to graduate from the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. He was hired by the Horace Trumbauer architectural firm and spent his entire career there.

Abele designed many of the Gothic buildings on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. But because of his race, the university did not originally celebrate the architect of many of its most important structures. Abele died in 1950 having never visited the Duke campus where he had played such an important role. Abele’s role in designing the Duke campus did not become widely known until 1988.


Earlier this year, the university announced that the main quadrangle with the university’s initial academic and residential buildings will be named Abele Quad. A plaque will be placed at the center of the Quad. In addition, a plaque honoring Abele will be placed in Duke Chapel.

Now the university has debuted an online walking tour guide of the building Abele designed on the Duke campus. The online map and guide may be viewed here.


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  1. F. Keith Bingham says:

    Julian Abele was also a graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth, now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

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