In my research on WWII, I have read a lot about the role of the Pulitzer-prize-winning author Ernie Pyle (no relation to the fictional character Gomer Pyle played by Jim Nabors on TV). Pyle covered the war in North Africa, Sicily, Europe, and the Pacific. Folks back home read his accounts of what our GIs were experiencing on the front lines. His down-to-earth writing style captured a widespread audience and was appreciated by the military.
Ernie won his Pulitzer in Journalism in 1944 for his wartime reporting. Unfortunately, after being embedded with our troops in many campaigns throughout WWII, he was killed by sniper fire on the Japanese island of le Shima only a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe. He would never return to his wife Geraldine and their quaint little home in the Victory Hills neighborhood near downtown Albuquerque. Pyle purchased the property in June 1940 and built an 1145-square-foot house.
Today, his home is a branch of the Albuquerque Public Library; it was the first branch library in the city. Anita and I recently paid a visit. The librarian was very gracious and gave us a tour of the house’s two bedrooms, small linen closet, and bathroom, separated from the living room by a small hallway. The Pyle’s 1940s kitchen is still intact. For a library, it’s small, with every nook and cranny filled with books. That small linen closet is dedicated to Ernie, with pictures of him and the five books he authored on a shelf below the display. I grabbed the brochures that were on display.
The brochures described the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum in his birthplace and hometown of Dana, Indiana. The museum highlights his life and writings as a correspondent during the war. You can find out more at their website:
In addition to the museum, Indiana University honored him with the dedication of Ernie Pyle Hall. The university also suggested that the Pyle family establish a foundation. The foundation aims to promote awareness of Pyle’s journalistic accomplishments and provide opportunities for ongoing dialogue among journalists, students, and the public. You can find out more about the foundation or donate at
Ernie Pyle’s legacy lives on, and he’s remembered as one of the most influential and compassionate war correspondents in American journalism history.
Click the following link to see Ernie Pyle photos: