Advertisement for New Haven Railroad
This print advertisement produced by the New Haven Railroad in 1943 was published in an effort to inspire the public to write to military service members during World War II. The large background image shows a young soldier delightedly reading a V-Mail letter while mail is distributed to his comrades around him. The text tells of the troop’s joy at the prospect of mail call, gives an example of a letter from a loved one and describes the happiness that the letter brings. It also reminds of the effort that went into delivering the letter and urges the reader to remember that the sacrifices they make in their daily rail journeys are helping that young boy at the front.
Advertisements such as this were encouraged by the government and the various wartime agencies as it was believed that regular mail from home was essential for morale. Mainly aimed at women through the medium of magazines, the advertisements tended to encourage the regular writing of short letters. Many were designed specifically to encourage the use of the space-saving V-Mail stationery. Participation in these campaigns was popular among companies as it kept their name in the public eye at a time when producing consumer goods was secondary to providing materials for the war. Crucially, it allowed them to support the war while promoting their own products.
Littoff, Judy, and David C. Smith. “‘Will He Get My Letter?:’ Popular Portrayals of Mail and Morale during World War II.” The Journal of Popular Culture 23, no. 4 (1990): 21-43.
THE KID AND HIS LETTER
It is late afternoon in a camp behind the front.
Men back from weeks of fighting in the foxholes are resting.
Suddenly a shout rings through the camp. The mail has come! Men crowd around a battered jeep . . . and cheer. Hands reach up and grab. The mail has come!
Look, There's the kid you know, smiling from ear to ear.
* * *
Now his eyes race down a tiny piece of paper . . . reading fast, then once again . . . and slowly.
Dad mowed the lawn today and fixed the screens. Pete Jones dropped in You ought to see our Victory garden after last night's rain.
We cut Joan's pigtails off. She got through grammar school this week, you know. We see Dottie almost every night and she looks fine.
It's wonderful to get your letters. I guess you know how much we miss you. Every time I pass your room, I think of you — and pray that God will keep you safe. Barnacle Bill wags best regards.
* * *
Deep down inside he's warm and glowing now.
Because a loved one half a world away wrote the cheerful things that happened one day here at home.
And all along the line, men thought and worked and cared enough to speed that letter on its way.
* * *
When your train is late, think of the Kid and his letter.
You may stop on a siding — so fresh troops can go to help him.
You may wait in a station — so there will be filed guns over there to cover his advance.
You may even get home hours late — so he'll have tanks, bullets . . . yes, and letters.
For every needed sacrifice we make, helps to speed that day when he'll come home.
THE NEW HAVEN R.R.
Serving New York and the Greater Industrial States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, in War and Peace.
For FREE Reproductions of this advertisement address: Manager of Public Relations, the New Haven Railroad, Grand Central Terminal, N.Y.
FOR VICTORY BUY UNITED STATES WAR BONDS AND STAMPS
Copyright, 1943, The New Haven R.R.