Victor D. Abel was born in Washington, DC, and attended public schools in both Washington and Philadelphia, graduating from the Northeast Manual Training School in 1904. In September, 1905, he entered the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University) and received his Certificate for Building Construction on 31 March 1908, and the Certificate for Architectural Drawing on 31 March 1909, both from the Evening College. By 1908 Abel was employed in the office of D. Knickerbacker Boyd, but he subsequently moved on to the offices of Edwin H. Fetterolf, Frank H. Rommel, and Wilson Eyre, respectively. By 1914 Abel had returned to D. Knickerbacker Boyd, where he collaborated with Boyd and John Coneys on work done for Frank R. Savage in Devon, PA. Francis A. Gugert joined Boyd & Abel in 1918, establishing the firm of Boyd, Abel & Gugert, a firm which was involved in Wendell & Smith's development of Wayne and Narberth, PA.
By 1917, Abel had embarked on what would become his chief interest in architecture, the planning and design of large-scale housing projects. In 1917 he was made Deputy Chief (later Chief of Design) for the Housing Division of the Emergency Fleet Corporation. Abel remained associated with Boyd and Gugert until 1936, but by 1934 he had relocated to Washington, DC as a consultant for the Procurement Division of the Public Buildings Administration, with whom he remained until 1938. Abel was also associated with the technical board of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, and in that capacity he served as associate architect for the Abbotsford Housing Group and as architect for the addition to the James Weldon John Homes (Ridge Ave., Phila., 1940), and the Tasker Housing Project (32nd St. and Tasker Ave., Phila., 1941).
Abel joined the T-Square Club Atelier in 1911 and became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1925. He also served as vice-president for the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in 1928.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Housing Authority
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