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History of Letterboxing

Adding a new stamp
to the book.
What is this all about?
Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining map-reading skills and artistic ability with delightful "treasure-hunts" in beautiful and scenic places. Boxes such as this can be found in various locations throughout the country, and the clues to find them are being shared among friends and posted on Internet web sites.

How did this all get started?
According to legend, in 1854 a Victorian gentlemen hiker put his calling card in a bottle and stuck it into a bank at Cranmere Pool, in a remote part of Dartmoor in southwestern England. Over the years, the hobby developed; current reports indicate that as many as 10,000 letterboxes are presently hidden in Dartmoor, now a National Park. Visitors from around the globe prowl the heath at Dartmoor in search of the elusive boxes and the artful stamps inside.

How did the hobby get started in the United States?
In April of 1998, Smithsonian magazine published an article on the Dartmoor letterboxes. Within a very short time, a loose alliance of adventurers and rubber stamp enthusiasts pioneered the introduction of the hobby to the US. With the Internet as a primary means of communication, the idea soon spread around the country. Web-sites and a discussion group were established. Letterboxes began to be placed in inconspicuous but interesting locations throughout the country.

Reference Sources:

"They Live and Breathe Letterboxing," Smithsonian magazine, April 1998.

Dartmoor Letterboxes and More Dartmoor Letterboxes
by Anne Swinscow, Kirkford Publications (Totnes, Devon, U.K.)

101 Dartmoor Letterboxes by John Hayward with Anne Swinscow, Kirkford Publications

Der Mad Stamper's "About Letterboxing" Printable
All information on this page, courtesy of Der Mad Stamper

Letterboxes are a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Sometimes, the boxes are hidden under rocks.

Sometimes, the boxes are hidden in the natural hiding spots of trees.

2003, Gnosis 4-H Club
The 4-H name and 4-H logo are service marks protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.

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