V is for V-Mail #AtoZChallenge
The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 posts, one for each letter of the English alphabet, in April. Most of us choose to make these posts on a particular theme. My theme for 2023 is 1943 Washington D.C., the setting of the novel that I’m writing. Visit daily in April for a new post on my topic.
V is for V-Mail
V-Mail (Victory Mail) was a service provided by the government for easy, fast delivery of letters between people at home to service people abroad.
To send V-mail, the letter-writer filled out a special form. The form had space for the addressee, the return address, and a short message. Single forms were free at the post office and 25¢ for a 25-pack from stores.
V-mail letters were microfilmed. The films were sent by air to their destination where they were printed at 60% size for the final reader.
The main advantage to the government was that a collection of microfilmed letters was much smaller than print letters.
According to the Office of War Information, as preserved by the Library of Congress:
It is only 1/65th the weight of ordinary mail and saves ninety-eight percent of the cargo space required for ordinary letters. 1,600 letters can be placed on a roll of film little larger than a pack of cigarettes
Here is a clerk microfilming V-mail at the Pentagon in 1943.
Throughout 1943, drugstores and stationery stores advertised V-mail packs in the Washington Post.
Their selling points were:
- Patriotism — make your soldier feel cared for while saving cargo space for war materials.
- Speed — V-mail was air-shipped as a priority item.
- Cost-saving — the stamp was 3 cents, no matter where in the world the final delivery would take place.
I have a v-mail that my grandparents received from a nephew during WW2. I wondered why it was so small until I investigated while doing a blog post some years ago. Now I guess people just send emails?
Ronel visiting for V:
My Languishing TBR: V
Interesting. Cute note from Nancy
A clever idea.
I guess the microfilms were destroyed
It’s great that this was a service provided and that single forms at the post office were free.
I didn’t know about this, but it was a good idea.
Alphabet of Alphabets: Vanishing Viano
I have V-mail from my Uncle Fred, sent to my grandmother (his mom) during WWII. He was my dad’s brother, and his inquiries about folks back home helped me learn more about the daily life of my dad’s family.