Julian Francis Abele (1881-1950)

Julian Abele, the first Professional African-American Architect

Associated Houses

Perry Belmont House

Washington D.C.

Rose Terrace (1934)

Grosse Pointe

James B. Duke House


Shadow Lawn (1929)

West Long Branch



He was born at Philadelphia and was the first African-American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He was immediately hired by Horace Trumbauer who encouraged him - and paid for him - to travel and continue his studies in Europe where he undertook classes at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. On returning to Philadelphia, Trumbauer named him his chief designer and he was first tasked with translating Ernest Sanson's plans for the Perry Belmont House in Washington D.C. He remained Trumbauer's chief draughtsman right up until drawing the plans for Rose Terrace for Mrs Dodge. He married his younger French piano teacher (who left him to live by with Josef Kowalewski by 1940) with whom he had three children.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 30/10/2018 and last updated on 07/06/2021.