V-Mail

Victory Mail, more commonly known as V-Mail, operated during World War II to expedite mail service for American armed forces overseas. Moving the rapidly expanding volume of wartime mail posed hefty problems for the Post Office, War, and Navy Departments. Officials sought to reduce the bulk and weight of letters, and found a model in the British Airgraph Service started in 1941 that microfilmed messages for dispatch.

Location: 
Art of Cards and Letters
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[music]

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Narrator: Letters from home; each day millions of them are sent to American servicemen

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fighting on distant battle fronts.

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Because a war postal system called V--mail,

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they can be flown throughout the world reaching distant points safely and with amazing speed.

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[airplane engine]

This plane is landing in Italy.

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Each bag of mail it carries contains 136 thousand letters.

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Back in America, each letter was reduced to a tiny strip of film.

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Now near the front, automatic machines and enlarge each overseas letter from

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sixteen millimeter motion picture negative to a four by five inch print.

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These strips are dried,

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carefully inspected and cut into individual letters.

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Machines fold them and put them into envelopes.

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In this one laboratory over three hundred thousand letters a day are handled.

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A complete locator card system takes care of mail incorrectly addressed.

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In the censorship section, anything that might reveal vital military information is cut out.

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[music]

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At mail call, Americans overseas receive their letters.

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Nearly every transport plane that spans the ocean brings its quota of mail.

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In just a few days, V-mail letters from home reach serviceman in every theater of war.

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