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.