Dakota Datebook


Thursday, February 13, 2014


During World War II, the United States held many drives for all sorts of goods to aid the war effort. People bought war bonds, grew victory gardens, “canned” Hitler, rationed their foods, and gave up nylon, rubber, and metals.


In February of 1943, the various metal drives made their way into the news – like the tin can campaign, during which tin cans of all varieties were collected throughout North Dakota. All proceeds received would be used “as the local salvage committees see fit, either to promote collection of more scrap, or given to charity.”


Another drive, reported on this date by the Bismarck Tribune, involved a local copper and brass drive. This drive was part of a nationwide program sponsored by the movie industry. All school children and teens who took part by donating four ounces of copper or brass were given tickets to see a movie at the theater. The specially-picked movie was entitled Born to Sing, a musical drama released the year before. It starred Ray McDonald, Leo Gorcey, Douglas McPhail, and Virginia Weidler (perhaps better remembered as Katherine Hepburn’s younger sister in the Philadelphia Story). Two shorts were also shown – a comedy called “Cactus Makes Perfect,” starring the Three Stooges, and a cartoon that was notably advertised as being in color, entitled “Who’s Zoo in Hollywood.”


The article reported on the drive’s progress. All of the youth at Roosevelt Elementary School had fulfilled the task, and 193 out of 207 students at Richholt had earned tickets so far. Slightly more than half of the students at St. Mary’s had donated items. Even the grade schools and Junior High chipped in, collecting 110 pounds of copper and brass. The scrap included door knobs, hinges, wire, old tea kettles, lamps, jewelry, bowls and even a brass bed. At Bismarck High, “several treasured loving cups and trophies” had been donated, with “sentiment…thrown to the winds.”


Bismarck’s youth really got down to brass tacks – and probably donated those, too.


Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker



The Bismarck Tribune, February 13, 1943

The Bismarck Tribune, February 9, 1943






This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

« Go Back

Award-winning radio, television, and public media services that educate, involve, and inspire the people of the prairie region.

Donate Now

Breaking News

Follow Us On Social Media