Gate on Haverford College Campus Linked to Black Architectural Pioneer Julian Abele

Edward B. Conklin GateLast month, JBHE published a post noting the accomplishments of Julian Frances Abele (1881-1950), the architect who designed many of the classic buildings on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The first African American to graduate from the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, Abele’s role in designing the Duke campus did not become widely known until 1988.

Now, new research by a faculty member at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, has found that one of Abele’s first creations was the Edward B. Conklin Gate of Haverford College on Railroad Avenue. Abele designed the gate while he was still a student at the University of Pennsylvania. The gate was named after a member of the Class of 1899, who died a year after earning his degree.

willie-williamsA 1999 campus survey of Haverford said that the designer of the gate was “unidentified.” But William Earle Williams, the Audrey A. and John L. Dusseau Professor in the Humanities at Haverford, discovered the identity of designer while conducting research on Adele for a ceremony honoring the architect at the Abington campus of Pennsylvania State University.

Professor Williams is a graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and holds a master of fine arts degree from the Yale University School of Art.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I LEARNED ABOUT ARCHITECT JULIAN F. ABELE WHILE ON TOUR OF THE DUKE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS. THE TOUR GUIDE RELATED THAT THE DUKE CHAPEL AND MANY OF THE BUILDINGS WERE DESIGNED BY JULIAN ABELE, WHO WAS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN DECENT. THIS WAS IN 2010 THAT I FIRST LEARNED OF MR. ABELE. THE GUIDE INDICATED THAT MR. ABELE’S RACE HAD NOT BEEN RECOGNIZED UNTIL THE LATE EIGHTIES AND EVEN THEN LITTLE CREDIT WAS GIVEN THE MAN. I WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED THAT I HAD NOT A CLUE AS TO WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN A CITY(DURHAM) JUST 20 MILES FROM WHERE I WAS BORN,( MEBANE,

  2. IT IS STILL NOT WIDELY KNOWN IN THE ANNALS OF BLACK HISTORY THAT JULIAN F. ABELE WAS THE AFRICAN AMERICAN WHO DESIGNED MANY OF THE BUILDINGS ON THE ORIGINAL DUKE CAMPUS. THANKS TO MR. WILLIAMS THAT HIS RESEARCH LED HIM TO THE WORK AT HAVEFORD COLLEGE. “THE GATE.”THANK YOU MR. WILLIAMS, I AM DEEPLY INTERESTED IN THE HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS THE INVISIBLE PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN LEFT UNKNOWN IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA.

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