The Nebraska Scrap Plan

The Nebraska State Historical Society recently acquired a set of Omaha World-Herald reprints containing photos and stories about the 1942 scrap drive sponsored by the newspaper.  Publisher of the World-Herald, Henry Doorly, came up with the idea of promoting a three-week scrap drive in Nebraska to help the war effort. It was devised as a competition between counties, with the winning county receiving $2,000 put up by Doorly.

It’s fascinating to see the kinds of things scrapped for the war effort: farm machinery, autos, old canons, guns, part of the old Elk City bridge, and even a jail cell from Stanton were scrapped.

There are several articles calling for a statue of a baseball player in Omaha’s Elmwood Park to be scrapped.

The statue, dubbed Bosco, ended up in the scrap pile.

Children, including scouting and 4-H groups, also contributed a lot to the cause. In Grant County, free circus tickets were given away to children who contributed at least 25 pounds of scrap. Grant County won the contest, and Nebraskans contributed 67,000 tons of scrap.

The Nebraska Scrap Plan received national attention, and due to its success, the War Production Board devised a scrap competition between the states.  The World-Herald also won the Pulitzer Prize for community service.

-Laura Mooney, Museum Registrar

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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