Collection Highlights: A greeting sent through V-Mail, Lila Marguerite Cabaniss Papers

Holiday Greeting 1943, Lila Marguerite Cabaniss Papers, 1848-1969, MS 116

This week GHS is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Second Battle of Guam on July 21, 1944, the American effort to recapture the island of Guam, captured by the Japanese in 1941. The Battle of Guam was part of the Marianas Islands campaign—a turning point in the war in the Pacific—in which U.S. forces landed on Saipan, Guam and Tinian. After heavy fighting, Saipan was secured in July and Guam and Tinian in August 1944. Guam was the first U.S. territory liberated from the Japanese. The U.S. constructed airfields on Saipan and Tinian from which B-29s flew strategic bombing missions against the Japanese mainland until the end of the war, including the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Using materials from the GHS Research Center we will explore Georgia’s involvement in the Pacific Theater in World War II. To learn more, read the post below.

This holiday greeting, sent to a local art teacher in Savannah, Georgia, in 1943, is an example of wartime economics and military strategy. This V-Mail or Victory Mail correspondence boasts an enormous amount of interesting details to be learned about World War II.

On the card is a drawing of a Patrol Torpedo Boat (PT). PT boats were small, fast vessels used for short-range scouting, cutting enemy supply lines, and harassing enemy forces. PT boats were armed with machine guns and torpedoes but also suffered high rates of loss.

V-Mail was the primary and secure method to deliver correspondence to soldiers stationed abroad. In order to reduce the economic impact of delivering mail through the military postal system the bulk and weight of letters was reduced. Letters were photographed and shipped on microfilm as thumbnail-sized images to produce smaller and lighter cargo allowing for more mail and other wartime supplies to be shipped faster.

Information from the Smithsonian Institute Postal Museum “Victory Mail Online Exhibit” https://postalmuseum.si.edu/victorymail/ and the National Park Service “PT Boats of World War II: From Home Front to Battle” https://www.nps.gov/articles/ptboats.htm

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