Victory 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. V-Mail used standardized stationery and microfilm processing to produce lighter, smaller cargo. Space was made available for other war supplies and more letters could reach military personnel faster around the globe.

V-Mail required standardized stationery. The 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch writing paper was specifically designed so that V-Mail letters could have a uniform size and weight and be photographed onto 16 mm microfilm. Microfilmed V-Mail was so tiny that between 1500 and 1800 V-Mail letters could fit on a 90-foot long roll of film. Each reel weighed only four ounces. The microfilmed V-Mail offered such a drastic reduction in weight that it allowed for letters and wartime equipment to be shipped simultaneously. Officials estimated V-Mail saved up to 98% on cargo weight and space. The Gilder Lehrman Institute holds TK original V-mail letters from the date TK-TK.