Billy Graham Center

The documents and images featured here are for the personal use of students, scholars and the public. Any commercial use or publication of them is strictly prohibited. This service is intended for Wheaton College students, faculty and staff; people who live in convenient driving range to campus; or people who will be visiting Wheaton's campus. Every month, this Bulletin Board will highlight a new document or set of documents that are available in the Archives. Come on over and have a look!

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The Archives Bulletin Board
July 2001:
"At Night Fellows Who Curse All Day Long Get On Their Knees" Victory Mail in the Archives

Technological advances in communications caused dramatic changes in the way people sent each other messages long before the Internet. During World War II, the United States used the newly developed technology of microfilming to improve the morale of both military personnel and their family and friends. Letters to and from men and women in the service, if they were submitted on a special one page form, were microfilmed. Because the film of thousands of letters could be shipped at a fraction of the weight and bulk of the real letters (and because wartime conditions necessitated the careful rationing of what could be shipped to and from the soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones), this so-called "Victory Mail" allowed many more letters to travel between enlisted personnel and their families that would have otherwise been possible. When the microfilm reached its destination, it was enlarged and printed out and given to its addressee. It was still a very small letter, as can be seen by the examples above compared to a human hand.

Those examples of actual letters (or rather the thermofax copies which the addressee received) are below. They were sent from solider Tom Wilson, serving at the Anzio beachhead in Italy, to his pastor H. A. Ironside at the Moody Church in Chicago. In it he writes a little about the effect of the war on his comrades' faith. These letters came from Collection 330 (the records of Moody Church), Box 19, Folder 6.

Click to go to the descriptive guide of the Moody Church collection.

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Last Revised: 11/14/03
Expiration: indefinite