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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

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2005 May 27


M. Elaine Wagner

Science Reference, Biology and General Science Selector

Woodruff Library, Emory University

Atlanta, GA 30322


Dear Elaine:


Great news !


As you can see from the enclosed items, we have found the answers to most of your questions. David

Vater, a local architect who is currently researching the history of all of Pittsburgh’s murals, found an article from a 1944 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which talks about Eva Mirabal’s mural at Buhl Planetarium and even has a picture of her!


According to the article, she was 22 at the time the mural was painted in 1944. However, the web site on Eva says she was born in 1920; hence, she would really have been 23 or 24 in 1944. With her death coming in 1968, at age 48, this is much too young. Do you know the cause of her death?


Interestingly, we found the same problem in the news article, regarding the spelling of her surname, which you had also mentioned. In the article her surname is spelled Mirabal, while it is spelled Mirabel in the caption to the photograph!


So, it turns out that the World War II mural, with the airplanes and parachutists, was the one that Eva painted. According to the article, this was painted for an Army Air Force Show at Buhl Planetarium, as a watercolor directly on the wall.


Since the Air Show mural was a watercolor [I doubt we will ever find a color photo of it], it must have been washed-off sometime in the 1950s or early 1960s. By the late 1960s, two satellite “murals” [actually “cut-outs” of painted satellites mounted on the east wall] had replaced Eva’s mural. Today, that section of the east wall is completely gone [including the astronomical inscription from the Bible which was on the exterior of the east wall], as the Children’s Museum insisted on replacing it with a huge window! Eric Canali and I remember seeing a black-and-white photo of this mural; however, it may have been in newspaper microfilm.


Another colleague, Virginia Peden, did send me the telephone number of Nat Youngblood, the artist who painted the very large mural on the Buhl Planetarium south wall in the 1960s, who now lives in the Pittsburgh suburb of Canonsburg. His telephone number is: 724-587-5854.








M. Elaine Wagner                             2005 May 27                                       Page 2 of 2



You mentioned that Nat Youngblood was in Taos, New Mexico around 1938; do you know if Mr. Youngblood was teaching art at that time? Eva would have been about 18 years of age at that time. So, it is certainly conceivable that she may have met Mr. Youngblood at an art class.


I hope this news article helps your research.


Sincerely yours,





Glenn A. Walsh

Project Director




Enclosures 2


Copy:     David Vater

                Virginia Peden