Skip Nav
50 States of Weddings: See What "I Do" Looks Like in Every State
Your Guide to Traveling With Sex Toys (Don't Worry, Yours Won't Be the First TSA's Seen)
It Took Me Years to Report My Sexual Assault, but My Story Still Matters

The National Postal Museum Says "You've Got Victory Mail"

The National Postal Museum Says "You've Got Victory Mail"

The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum is my third favorite Smithsonian, right behind American History and Air and Space. Yes, it sounds odd to have a whole museum about who's gotten mail, but it's really good. Trust. One of their current exhibits is on Victory Mail — getting mail to soldiers overseas.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II, letters became the primary source of communication between soldiers and their families. According to the 1945 Annual Report to the Postmaster General, mail in that year alone reached 2.5 billion dispatches and that was only for the Army!

During WWII, because the only way people could communicate was through letters, mail was almost as important as food for those serving. The Red Cross even advocated frequent letter writing and offered recommendations on dos and don’ts. Here’s one piece of advice:

Men in war have neither the time nor the emotional energy to be interested in boring details about housekeeping, rationing problems, and family troubles. Unfortunately, many women’s minds run that way. . . . Soldiers are occupied with the fundamentals of existence. Yours, as well as theirs, only most of you are too far away from the terribleness of war and what a Nazi-dominated world could mean, to realize it.

In addition to an exhibit in DC, the Smithsonian has a great online version of the Victory Mail display to check out. Why did I find out about the display? I had a little mission to DC this week to participate in the Google/National Journal panel discussion on politics and pop culture. It was a great time — and if this story whets your appetite to see the whole program, it will be on C-SPAN this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Join The Conversation
stephley stephley 9 years
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Steph thats the best disagreement we've had yet. Yay for us! :)
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 9 years
all of the smithsonians are cool. i love the native american museum and the natural history museum and of course the air and space museum. i could seriously spend a two week vacation touring all of them. they are that great.
stephley stephley 9 years
You're right Cab, I hate what you said. I understand the perspective that inspired you to say it, but it ignores other perspectives. But 'nuff said, this is really about the Mail Museum - and I don't want to totally ignore what Citizen was excited about.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Well Steph you're gonna hate what I have to say! :) I agree that the part about "women's minds run that way" is offensive but the message of not burdening your spouse with your problems while they are gone is pretty true. Certainly couples need to have open communication, but the men and women out there have plenty to worry about and to recieve a letter or a phone call that just piles on more worries can be pretty self-centered. Its much better to blow off the steam, write the letter and sleep on it. If you still feel like you need to send it out, then by all means do so. But at the end of the day s/he can't help you from over there. You're going to have to deal with it yourself.
stephley stephley 9 years
he started it? :oops:
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
:lol: stephley
stephley stephley 9 years
A blueberry pie cooling on the windowsill and we're off to the races!
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
*released - of courses.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Well, that's another book releases in the same period entitled "How To Lure A Child Into Your Home". Back then it wasn't really a crime.
stephley stephley 9 years
Or a good pedophile - which doesn't automatically rule him out: good perv v. good provider?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I found a book called "How To Make Love" written in 1930-something. It's hysterical and contains such important dating tips as: "Finding a man who will support you". "Group activities instead of one one one dating will curb any urges". And my favorite: "Determine his attitude regarding child-rearing by taking him to parks where children often times play. If he smiles in their presence, he might make a good father."
stephley stephley 9 years
Hmmm... that little piece of Red Cross advice is so pompous, so offensive, that it completely killed my interest instantly - and my mom still saves letters she got from her brother before he was killed in World War II.
Mom's Letter to Her Military Kids
Amazon Buys Whole Foods
Shades of Green Military Resort at Walt Disney World
Lottery Horror Stories
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds