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Ernie Pyle

Ernie Pyle fullErnie Pyle, born near Dana in 1900, was a newspaper columnist during World War II. He attended Indiana University but left before graduating to take a job at the LaPorte Herald, a northern Indiana newspaper. Around this time, Ernie met his wife, Geraldine, and they were married in 1925.

Ernie eventually got a job with the Scripps-Howard newspapers as a columnist. He and his wife traveled the country during the Great Depression and wrote columns describing life in America at that time. When war broke out in Europe, Pyle went to England to cover the Battle of Britain in 1940.

When America entered the war in 1941, Pyle signed on as a war correspondent. He wrote columns about what it was like to be an ordinary soldier and the every day struggles they encountered. He traveled with American soldiers on the front lines in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. Ernie’s columns became so popular that they were published in over 400 daily newspapers nationwide during the war. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his columns in 1944.

In 1945, Ernie was assigned to cover the Pacific Theater of the war. He was killed on April 18, 1945, by Japanese sniper fire on the island of Ie Shima. Soldiers and citizens on the home front mourned the loss of Ernie Pyle because of his ability to put a human face on a dehumanizing war.


Bibliography

“Ernie Pyle” bibliographic essay, written by the IHS staff.

Price, Nelson. Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman. Carmel, Indiana: Guild Press of Indiana, 1997.

Additional Resources

“Ernie Pyle.” by the Indiana University School of Journalism is dedicated to Ernie Pyle and contains some of his wartime columns.

“Indiana State Museum – Historic State Sites.” Learn more about the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site in Dana, Ind.

"Reporting American at War" This site includes a brief overview of Pyle during World War II and links to a few of his newspaper columns. The site includes a lesson plan for teachers the uses his news columns in the classroom.