Letterboxing in North America

Letterboxing in North America, officially got it’s start in April 1998, when Smithsonian Magazine published an article about letterboxing in Dartmoor England. While there were people letterboxing in North America before that, it was mostly small groups of friends, or individuals who either knew people from England, or were associated with historical groups. Before 1998, most of the letterboxing in North America was happening in the North East. Since the publication of the article in the Smithsonian, letterboxing in North America has become popular in many states and with many types of people.

What is Letterboxing exactly?

Letterboxing is the fine art of “treasure hunting”. A letterboxer will hide a box, usually containing a unique stamp and stamp pad, and then write clues so others can find the box and leave their mark. The letterboxer’s mark is usually a unique stamp of their own, but many people, especially those new to letter boxing, have been known to simply sign their name and date it.

How do I find clues ?

Before 1998, letterboxing clues were passed on by word of mouth and sometimes at sports stores such as Eastern Mountain Sports. Now however, finding clues is as simple as connecting to the Internet. Letterboxing.org and atlasquest.com , both have an extraordinary amounts of clues for letterboxing in North America.

How do I get started?

If you live in a city with active letter boxers, you can get started with only a pen and notebook, and a set of clues. As the letterboxing in North America grows more popular, there are more and more letterboxes being hidden in cities. Follow the clues to the box and stamp your book, then write you name in the book you will find in the box ! It’s that simple.

Most letterboxers however, do have the following equipment: A compass, a good pair of hiking shoes, a personal stamp and stamp pad, and a book for the stamps of the letterboxes they find. Many letterboxers make their own stamps and you can find directions on how to do that on Letterboxing.info. For the less artistically inclined, there are a number of places you can buy unique stamps such as paperangel.com. In a pinch, you can simply go to a craft store, or stamping store and look at what they have to offer. Many people do this while they are deciding if letterboxing is a good hobby for them.

Letterboxing can be a fun hobby, and one in which the entire family can join in. It can be educational, and help you get out to get some fresh air and exercise. If you are looking for a fun way to spend some time with your family, or just like finding a clue, letterboxing might just be the hobby for you !

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