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Using Victory Mail image banner
V-Mail letter sheet with auxiliary marking.
V-Mail letter sheet with auxiliary marking.
V-Mail letter sheet marked for INTER_ISLAND delivery.
V-Mail microfilm and facsimile letter; courtesy University of North Texas Libraries.
V-Mail envelope with letter.
V-Mail facsimile letter.

Delivering Letters

Not all V-Mail was microfilmed. Damaged forms could not pass through the microfilming machinery. Forms with illegible penmanship or writing that extended into the margins were weeded out as unsuitable for filming. See the 1st image for an example of a damaged form.

In some cases, processing stations were not available and in other cases, simply forwarding full-sized sheets was the fastest option. See the 2nd and 3rd images for examples of expedited letters.

For the letters that underwent microfilm processing, clerks reproduced each frame of the film onto photographic paper. The quality of penmanship and inks on the original letter greatly affected the readability of the final print. See the 4th image for a publicity sample demonstrating the importance of legibility.

The rolls of photographic prints were cut into individual messages. The final photographic prints measured about one quarter of the original letter sheets’ size and were commonly called facsimiles. The facsimiles’ dimensions were 4 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches.

The prints were folded just under the upper address portion. The fold’s position was specific so that the address would be visible once the letter was inserted into an envelope with a cut-out window. See the 5th image for an example of a V-Mail envelope.

The small size was an essential quality for shipping V-Mail but posed a challenge to some readers. Postal clerks frequently found the shrunken addresses difficult to decipher, which caused some slowness on the final delivery steps. Clerks and recipients could turn to a magnifying glass for assistance, indeed some marketing and products particularly targeted V-Mail readers. See the 6th image for a writer’s expression of concern over his letter’s readability.