National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Art of Cards and Letters Gallery, Lower Level, Northwest Floor Plan
This exhibition showcases the museum's collection of World War II V-mail correspondence. The V-mail system, named after the WWII "V for Victory" symbol, was developed to help reduce the shipping space needed for the massive increase in mail being sent between American armed forces overseas and their family and friends at home. By reducing letters to microfilm size for the trip, thousands of pieces of mail could be shipped taking up only a fraction of the space traditional letters used. Once transported, microfilmed mail was reproduced to a quarter of the original size for final delivery. More letters meant better morale and less shipping space ensured other vital war materials reached the battlefront.
Among the items on display are a rare strip of 16mm V-mail microfilm, which were usually destroyed after the contents were printed, and various letters that reveal the local color and humor of military life in the Pacific and European Theaters.