Ernie Pyle, Popular Communicator Who Loved New Mexico
Originally from Dana, Indiana, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle (1900-1945), who was tragically killed during World War II, once lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
According to https://abqlibrary.org/whowaserniepyle, Pyle had planned to reside in Albuquerque with his wife for the duration of their marriage but the idea didn’t last due to his war service. He took his responsibility very seriously, becoming a relied upon voice that reached an enormous audience, especially during the war. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library website describes his impact this way: “Although already famous, it would be his personal, soldier-oriented dispatches from military theaters overseas, read avidly by millions, that brought him the highest acclaim.”
As a chronicler and storyteller among soldiers, he was known for writing with clarity and mature insight.
“They seemed terribly pathetic to me. They weren’t warriors. They were American boys who by mere chance of fate had wound up with guns in their hands, sneaking up a death-laden street in a strange and shattered city in a faraway country in a driving rain. They were afraid, but it was beyond their power to quit. … And even though they weren’t warriors born to the kill, they won their battles. That’s the point.” — Ernie Pyle
His Namesake Public Library in Albuquerque
The journalist’s home is now the Ernie Pyle Branch Library of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library, and is officially designated as a National Historic Landmark. This small community library at 900 Girard Boulevard SE continues to exhibit items of Pyle before it became a library in 1948. It has quaint and peaceful grounds with a quote from the writer (displayed on a large sculpture), an outdoor turtle-shaped bench, and an engaging children’s room, in addition to an impressive collection of memorabilia connected to Ernie Pyle.
The Scripps Howard Foundation named the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling after this popular journalist. According to shawards.org: “This award honors storytelling that clearly exemplifies the warmth and craftsmanship of legendary World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle, who wrote movingly about everyday people with everyday dreams.”
This is the second stop on our New Mexico Author Adventures Trail.