Thanks, that's exactly the sort of helpful information I was hoping to find.  I'll forward your reply to Joan. :-)

>>> Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> 11/18/2009 11:05 AM >>>
These records were very widespread all over the country and in some of
the major points of encampment around the world.  But there is one thing
that is very important for Ms. Denman to know about them -- they are NOT
45s, they are 78s.  There was no 45 speed until 1949.  

The recording service was often in conjunction with the USO, and many of
them were supported by commercial sponsorship.  It was a free service.
The most attractive discs were from Gem Blades which used printed discs
with a clear coating, probably manufactured by Rainbo.  They had
pictures of soldiers and USO scenes.  Pepsi had discs with black lacquer
much like Recordio.  Most of the discs were fibre base and now are very
fragile.  A lot are very worn, for very good reason.  They always
originally had a mailer which would usually have a notation like "A
record for you from your loved one in the military."  The soldier would
probably address the mailer while waiting in line and then make the
record which would be mailed by the service.

I have about 5 or 6 of them and I loaned them to Steve Smolian about 10
or 15 years ago for a taping project he was doing, for LC perhaps?  So
Steve might be able to give a lot more info.

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask] 

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Voice Letter recordings
From: Jeanette Berard <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, November 18, 2009 1:14 pm
To: [log in to unmask] 

I'm posting this for Joan Denman, so if you have a response, you can
post back to her at: [log in to unmask] 

They have 6 of these recordings from all over the country, and would
like any information they can get.

If any replies are posted to the list, I'll forward them on.

>We have some "Voice Letter" recordings on 45 rpm album disks that we are
>attempting to find some background on. Some were recorded at USO Clubs,
>some at neighborhood giftshops, and other venues. Most are family members
>recording their message and it is then sent overseas or perhaps Stateside.
>We're trying to find out when they were introduced, by whom, how widespread
>they were, etc. We've contacted a few music libraries to no avail.
>We're greatly appreciate any assistance in pointing us to resources.
>Many thanks,
>Joan E. Denman
>Senior Archivist & Historian
>Institute on World War II
>& the Human Experience
>PO Box 3062200
>Florida State University
>Tallahassee, FL 32306-2200
>Ph: 850-644-9033
>Email: [log in to unmask]