Original U.S. WWII Victory Mail US Army Postal Service Promotional Poster - 22” x 28”
Original Item: Only One Available. V-mail, short for Victory Mail, was a hybrid mail process used by the United States during the Second World War as the primary and secure method to correspond with soldiers stationed abroad. To reduce the cost of transferring an original letter through the military postal system, a V-mail letter would be censored, copied to film, and printed back to paper upon arrival at its destination. The V-mail process is based on the earlier British Airgraph process.
V-mail correspondence was on small letter sheets, 17.8 by 23.2 cm (7 by 9+1⁄8 in), that would go through mail censors before being photographed and transported as thumbnail-sized images in negative microfilm. Upon arrival at their destination the negatives would be printed. The final print was 60% of the original document's size, creating a sheet 10.7 by 13.2 cm (4+1⁄4 by 5+1⁄4 in).
According to the National Postal Museum, "V-mail ensured that thousands of tons of shipping space could be reserved for war materials. The 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack. The weight of that same amount of mail was reduced dramatically from 2,575 pounds to a mere 45." This saved considerable weight and bulk in a time in which both were hard to manage in a combat zone.
In addition to postal censorship, V-mail also deterred espionage communications by foiling the use of invisible ink, microdots, and microprinting, none of which would be reproduced in a photocopy.
This lovely, unrestored original poster was used as a method of promoting the use of the Victory Mail to correspond with the servicemen and women overseas. In today’s military, we used something similar and was called “Moto Mail”. Moto Mail would essentially be used the same way and reduced the amount of paper weight being sent. Families would write a letter in an email and then the military would have it printed out overseas for distribution.
The poster features a smiling soldier in his field uniform reading a letter he received through the V Mail. The text at the top reads as:
He’s sure to get
V • • • — MAIL
Safest Overseas Mail
U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE
This poster could have also been used as a “V For Victory” propaganda type poster given the use of the “V • • • —”. During World War II, the opening motif of Beethoven's 5th Symphony became a powerful symbol for the Allied forces. The short-short-short-long rhythmic pattern corresponded in Morse code to the letter 'V' for Victory, which was an acknowledged symbol of the war effort, most famously made by Winston Churchill forming a 'V' with the first and second fingers of his raised right hand.
The poster is in excellent condition but does show signs of minor wear. The creases present were intentionally made during the shipping and distribution process. All colors are still vibrant and discernible with an easily read message. Measures 22" x 28".
This lovely poster comes more than ready to be mounted, framed and displayed!
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