Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

By James J. Kimble | Go to book overview

2
Henry Doorly and the Nebraska Plan

This is the story of an idea. It began with one man and one newspaper.
Omaha World-Herald (1942)

Margaret Hitchcock Doorly might have seemed, at first glance, a rather unusual person to be playing an indispensable role in any event involving either scrap metal or warfare. Mrs. Henry Doorly, as the society columns of the day referred to her, was one of the leading ladies of Omaha and no stranger to cultured circles. Her maternal grandfather had been an early governor of Nebraska, and her father had been a two-term U.S. senator as well as the founder and publisher of the Omaha World-Herald. As would be expected for a woman in her social position, she was tirelessly active in midwestern high society and charity work. She was even a playwright. In short, she would most likely have been more comfortable at a high profile fund-raising event than in a scrap yard full of rusting metal parts.1 Ironically, it was this feminine paragon of Omaha’s elite society who served as the initial catalyst for the toil and sweat of the Nebraska Plan and all that would follow from it.

The inspiration took place on July 1, 1942. Margaret was going on a train journey, and she asked Henry to drive her from their elegant Fairacres home to Omaha’s Union Station. During the drive, Henry began to complain to his wife about the dismal results of the national rubber salvage

-32-

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Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction - Home Front, Battlefront 1
  • 1 - The Scrap Deficit, or How Not to Win a War 12
  • 2 - Henry Doorly and the Nebraska Plan 32
  • 3 - Summertime Scrapping in the City 51
  • 4 - Mobilizing Greater Nebraska 77
  • 5 - The Second-Half Comeback 100
  • 6 - The Nebraska Plan Goes National 123
  • Epilogue - Home Front, Battlefront (Revisited) 146
  • Appendix 159
  • Notes 163
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
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