ANDERSON, Ind. — When he was an Indiana University student, Ray E. Boomhower often walked through the college’s journalism building and looked at a display of the typewriter and reporter’s notebook used by World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle.
When Boomhower looks back on his late 1970’s college days, he sees Pyle’s influences on his career as a journalist and author.
“Ernie is someone, if you’re a journalism student at IU, that you’re going to know about and you’re going to have a warm feeling for. I certainly did,” said Boomhower, who worked in Anderson as a reporter for The Anderson Herald.
As an author now, his “The Soldier’s Friend: A Life of Ernie Pyle,” was published a few years ago through the Indiana Historical Society Press. He spoke about the book recently at the Pendleton Community Public Library.
“Pyle was always a big part of my days as a student, as I had numerous classes in Ernie Pyle Hall, as well as working on the Indiana Daily Student as Ernie did,” Boomhower recalled.
“He seemed a natural to write about when I looked for a notable Hoosier for the IHS Press’s Youth Biography Series, which the book is part of. The series is aimed at middle and high school students, but has proved popular with readers of all ages.”
Boomhower is senior editor with IHS Press and edits the quarterly history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. His previous books have included biographies of author and Civil War general Lew Wallace, suffragette and peace activist May Wright Sewall, World War II photographer John A. Bushemi, and astronaut Gus Grissom. In 1998, Boomhower received the IHS’s Hoosier Historian honor.
In his book, Boomhower includes some of Pyle’s columns including “The Horrible Waste of War” from June 16, 1944. In it, Pyle recounts walking along the short of Normandy Beach shortly after the June 6 D-Day invasion by allied troops.