May 1945 Letter

JulioVicinanzaMayLetterEnv.Item2Redited (1)
Envelope to May 1945 letter.

JulioVicinanzaMayLetterPg1Item2 (1105)

JulioVicinanzaMayLetterPg2Item2Redited (1)
May 1945 letter, page 2.

This letter was written to Julio Vicinanza during his tour of duty in Europe during World War II. The letter is dated May 10, 1945 and was written to him by his cousin Anne, who was on the home front back in New York. The letter details a delay in correspondence due to the family moving out to Long Island and her need to get things into place. She writes that the new house has seven rooms and that a “Mary” has written him and included a picture.

Correspondence from home was of the utmost importance during World War II. Then-postmaster general of the United States, Frank C. Walker, stated, “[i]t is almost impossible to over-stress the importance of this mail. It is so essential to morale that army and navy officers of the highest rank list mail almost on a level with munitions and food.”. [1] Letters to and from the frontlines were a lifeline for soldiers fighting in WWII. The “imminence of danger and the uncertainty of war placed an added emphasis on… [e]motions and feelings that were normally only expressed on special occasions were written regularly to ensure devotion and support.”. [2] Civilians at home were encouraged to write to soldiers even about the most basic of activities. Daily routines, family news, and local events to help keep those away fighting, linked to their communities.[3] This is apparent in this letter, as Anne writes very plainly of moving, the details of settling into a new house and of another friend writing him a letter. A quick two-page update, but it could have made all the difference. To comment on the importance of this letter to the Julio Vicinanza Collection, these letters are a casual look into his past. A cousin writing an update about the family move. This is an importance piece as it documents a move to Long Island, an event of familial-historical significance. Historians often value personal texts such as this, as there is a “certain open, candid quality, which contrasts with the conceptualized and self-protective language of more ‘official’ documents”.[4]Essentially, personal letters, such as the ones provided here, offer great insight into the past. This is another check on the list showing why preservation of these kinds of familial objects is so important.

[1] N/A, “Wartime Postmaster Details the Work of Mail Delivery in WWII,” Armed Forces Journal, December 7, 1942, accessed November 2, 2017, https://igreenbaum.com/2012/04/02/wartime-postmaster-details-the-work-of-mail-delivery-in-wwii/.

[2] “Letter Writing in World War II,” Smithsonian National Postal Museum, accessed November 2, 2017, https://postalmuseum.si.edu/victorymail/letter/index.html.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Why Do Historians Value Letters and Diaries?,” Historymatters.gmu.edu, accessed October 292017, http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/letters/whydo.html.

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