Museum adds bust of Pyle to collection

By Ruth Witmer

The latest addition to the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum is a bust of the renowned correspondent created by journalist-turned-sculptor David Ross Stevens.

 Stevens graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in journalism. 

“I became a journalist only eight years after Ernie died,” Stevens said.

Stevens started his career as a roving feature writer for the Telegraph-Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, and then became a wire editor. He spent two years as a managing editor in Henderson, Kentucky, before moving on to the Courier-Journal in Louisville. At the CJ, he was the paper’s first investigative environment writer.

Stevens said he always had a latent interest in art. He considered the act of building his own solar house a creative venture — almost like sculpture — and decided he wanted to do more things like that.

“I happened to be friends with a bunch of artists. In my 40s, that’s when the turning point came,” said Stevens who took his first drawing class at age 46.

“I hadn’t touched a piece of clay before age 50,” said Stevens who makes his home in southern Indiana with his wife, Rose.

Stevens said most of his pieces are commissions but he did Pyle on his own initiative and then decided to donate it.

“That was just a fun thing for myself since I had been in journalism,”  he said. 

The artist has a variety of sculptures and busts displayed in public places. In Indiana, his work includes renderings of abolitionist Frederick Douglass at Division Street School in New Albany; Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton in the Floyd County Public Library; Lucy Higgs Nichols, an escaped slave who served as a nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War, at the Carnegie History and Art Museum in New Albany; and a full-body bronze of golfer Fuzzy Zoeller at his course in Sellersburg.

Stevens said he has become a big fan of Pyle’s writing and can relate him to people he knew growing up.

“A half dozen guys within site of our house were in WWII and they were all the kinds of guys Ernie was writing about — the sergeants and corporals and privates.”

Stevens said the bust he’s donating to the museum is about 10 inches high and was done using cast stone.

The method was new to Stevens when he created the piece. It involves mixing a powdered marble material with a catalyst and water.

“I had made him in clay then made a rubber mold around the clay. I took that rubber mold and pressed this new cast stone into it and out came Ernie Pyle — and I was so pleased.”

Museum hosts author panel on war correspondents Saturday, Nov. 6 at Helt Township Fire Department

Authors Owen Johnson and Ray Boomhower will be featured in a discussion of war correspondents on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Dana, Indiana. Friends of Ernie Pyle President Steve Key will moderate the panel that is open to the public.

The Ernie Pyle World War II Museum will host an author’s panel to discuss the lives and work of several war correspondents on Saturday, Nov. 6. Ray Boomhower, who recently released his latest book, “Richard Tregaskis: Reporting under Fire from Guadalcanal to Vietnam,” and Owen Johnson, author of “At Home with Ernie Pyle,” will talk about those and other WWII correspondents and take questions from the audience. Friends of Ernie Pyle Board president Steve Key will serve as moderator.

The event will be held at the Helt Township Fire Department building in Dana. It will start at 11 a.m. and finish at 12:30 p.m. Boomhower and Johnson have agreed to sign books after the event that people decide to purchase. The author’s selections will make fine gifts for one’s history-loving family or friends.

The author’s panel will be held following the Annual Meeting of the Friends of Ernie Pyle, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on that Saturday.

The museum will be open that weekend, so anyone attending the panel can easily tour the museum and birthplace of Ernie Pyle following the event. Admission is free through a contract between The Friends of Ernie Pyle and Helt Township Trustee.

The Friends of Ernie Pyle, a non-profit charitable organization have operated the Dana museum since 2011 – taking over the management after the Indiana Department of Natural Resources made the decision to decommission the historic site. The museum includes the 1851 farmhouse where Ernie was born on Aug. 3, 1900, and two Quonset huts that contain exhibits and theatres that feature the stories written during World War II by Pyle, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in 1944.

Elder-Pyle House placed on the National Register

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources informed the Friends of Ernie Pyle that the birthplace of the World War II correspondent has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 The federal Department of the Interior added the Elder-Pyle House on the National Register on Aug. 25. DNR told The Friends of Ernie Pyle that the official State and National Register certificates will be presented during a special ceremony at the Indiana State Fair in August of 2022 in Indianapolis.

“We are ecstatic over this level of recognition for the historical and cultural significance bestowed on Ernie Pyle’s birthplace,’ said Steve Key, president of the Friends of Ernie Pyle. “We hope this national designation will allow us to tap into resources that will help us preserve the legacy of our nation’s best-known war correspondent.

“It’s important that Hoosiers and Americans understand the hardships and accomplishments of the generation that survived the Great Depression and then were asked to fight a war to preserve our democratic freedoms,” Key said.

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places is the official inventory of sites with national, state, or local significance in the development of our nation’s cultural heritage. Listing on the National Register is official recognition of the significance of the farmhouse and provides a measure of protection for the property.

In Indiana, the National Register is administered by the Department of Natural Resources. In addition to a degree of environmental protection, owners of listed properties may be eligible to apply for matching federal grants for restoration or preservation work if funds are available.

The Friends of Ernie Pyle hope the new recognition will bring extra points to its current effort to receive funding from the state’s Historic Renovation Grant Program to restore the clapboard siding of the farmhouse built in 1851 by the Elder family. Pyle was born in the white, two-story farmhouse with Greek Revival features on Aug. 3, 1900.

The Friends of Ernie Pyle have been saving contributions for years to afford the much-needed repair work. They were greatly helped with a $39,000-plus donation from the Indiana Department of the American Legion, when then-State Commander Rodney Strong made the museum his personal project in office.

“I think it is great,” Strong said of the National Register designation. It has been a long time coming.”

Dr. Bucshon’s Legislation to Rename Post Office in Dana, Indiana as the Ernest ‘Ernie’ T. Pyle Post Office Signed into Law by President Trump

ernie pyle
  (Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) released the following statement after introducing legislation to memorialize a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and Hoosier hero by designating the
U.S. Post Office located in Dana, Indiana as the Ernest ‘Ernie’ T. Pyle Post Office (H.R. 4734):  

“ The art of storytelling ensures that history is remembered. It ensures the good times are celebrated and the bad
times are never repeated. Ernie Pyle answered the call to tell the stories of America’s fighting men and women on
the front lines during World War II. In an age when the average American had limited access to news, Ernie Pyle
risked, and ultimately gave his own life to ensure that Americans knew the stories of sacrifice and hardships our
fighting men and women endured.  

“I am pleased to introduce this bill with the support of the entire Indiana House delegation. Dedicating this U.S.

Post Office in the memory of this American hero and Hoosier will help ensure his story and his legacy live on.”  

Ernest “Ernie” Taylor Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, near Dana, Indiana to Maria and William Clyde Pyle.
Beginning in 1942, Pyle began reporting from the front lines of both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war,
from where he brought the experiences and stories of the everyday soldier back home to America.

Throughout the course of the war, Pyle was on the frontlines in battles ranging from Anzio in Italy, to the
beaches of Normandy on D-Day, to Okinawa in the Pacific.

On April 18, 1945, Pyle was reporting on the U.S. Army’s 305th Infantry Regiment on the island of Iejima when he was killed by Japanese gunfire.

Pyle was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for his war correspondence, as well as the Medal for Merit and the Purple Heart posthumously.  

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee serving his fifth term representing Indiana’s 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana
includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike,
Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.

Ernie Pyle Tribute Video

Ernie Pyle Tribute Video by the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation.


David Chrisinger The Unhappy Warrior: Ernie Pyle and the Second World War

David Chrisinger is currently writing a book about famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle for Penguin Press tentatively titled The Unhappy Warrior: Ernie Pyle and the Second World War. Included below are entries from his travels in the footsteps of Pyle.

     In addition to writing about war and trauma, David directs the writing program at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, where he teaches storytelling and political communication strategies to the next generation of public policy professionals. He is also a Contributing Writer for the New York Times Magazine’s At War Column and teaches memoir writing for The War Horse News, the only non-profit newsroom dedicated to covering post-9/11 military and veteran issues.

Ernie Pyle in Tunisia

Ernie Pyle in Sicily

Ernie Pyle in Italy Part I

Ernie Pyle in Italy Part II

Retracing the Steps of Ernie Pyle by David Chrisinger

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking a lot about how much the world has changed since VJ Day and where we as a country are headed next.

To help make sense of this critical moment in time, I’m spending the next year retracing the steps of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle for a book being published by Penguin Press. I believe the realities of war Pyle documented and the sometimes uncomfortable truths he brought to the “folks back home” need to be reexamined with a 21st-century lens if we are ever to understand the stories we tell ourselves about war and trauma.

Back in December I completed the first of four research trips–this one to Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy. Here’s me at the top of Djebel Hamra, outside Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia, where Pyle watched the American forces take on–and get clobbered by–two German Panzer Divisions in the days leading up to the infamous 1943 Battle of Kasserine Pass.

Next month I will spend two weeks in France, and this summer I’ll be visiting the Pacific, where Pyle was killed, as well as London, where Pyle’s career as a war correspondent began. In addition to engaging with the mythology that has settled over him and his writing, in each locale I visit I will also explore what Pyle’s columns can tell us about the lasting effects of war on the people who are forced to endure it.

Above all else, it’s my goal to paint a thoughtful portrait of a man who found himself caught in the maelstrom of war, who tried mightily to make the unimaginable aspects of what he saw imaginable to the reader back home, and who struggled just as much to make sense of the gaps that existed between what he witnessed and what he could report.

And I’d like to bring you along for the ride.

If you’re interested in learning more about the stories we tell ourselves about war, please visit my new and improved website — — and sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page.

“Live from the Front,” with Rick Plummer as Ernie Pyle

Live from the Front is a show by actor Rick Plummer, portraying Ernie Pyle. Rick performed his show Saturday evening November 9, 2019 in Vermillion County. The article below is from the write up about his show in the Daily Clintonian newspaper in Clinton, Indiana.

Click the link below to view.

New WFIU and WTIU Programs Explore Life and Legacy of Ernie Pyle

Pyle to be inducted into the Hall of Fame

The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame (IMVHOF) has announced that Ernie Pyle of Dana will be one of its 21 inductees for 2018.

Ernest T. Pyle is listed as one of 21 veterans from- around the state who will be inducted ·this year. The induction ceremony will take place on Nov. 9 at the National Guard Armory, 9920 East 59th street, in Lawrence, Indiana.

The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame honors veterans for their military service achievements and community contributions. More information can be found at

This is the fifth year of induction for the Hall, and brings the total number of inductees to 83. The IMVHOF received 55 nominations this year. Veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, living or deceased, were considered equally.