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Ernest Ivy Thomas Jr. papers

 Collection — Container: 98.0009 - Box 1
Identifier: 98.0009

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to Ernest Ivy "Boots" Thomas Jr., who served with the Fifth Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Thomas participated in the battle for Iwo jima, where he served as Platoon Sergeant to the men who raised the first flag atop Mt. Suribachi. He was subsequently killed in action on March 3, 1945 in Iwo Jima. This collection contains letters from Thomas to his mother, as well as photographs from the flag raising on Iwo Jima, letters to Mrs. Thomas after Ernest's death, and military magazines.


  • Created: 1941-1945
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/19/2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Ernest Ivy Thomas Jr. was born on March 10, 1924 in Tampa, FL by Ernest Ivy Thomas (1899-1939) and Martha Thornton Thomas (1902-1968). Known by his nickname "Boots," he was raised in Monticello, FL.

Thomas arrived at Parris Island Recruit Depot on May 27, 1942. Upon completing Basic Training at Parris Island, SC, Thomas was selected to remain and serve as a Drill Instructor. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a Platoon Sergeant in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. He was one of the six Marines who raised the first American flag on Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. A larger flag later replaced the first, and the raising of that flag was captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in what has become one of the most famous photographs in history. Sergeant Thomas was killed in action ten days later on March 3, 1945, and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery during the battle.


1.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Ernest Ivy Thomas Jr. papers
Carmellina Moersch
October 9, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US