THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST has a long & proud history of nurturing what are commonly called “barbershop quartets” – a few of which  have enjoyed considerable fame and national recording careers worthy of mention (The Four Saints from Everett, & The Eligibles from Renton, among them) – but the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet were a notable early example & were touted, back in the 1920s, as being “unique.” Well, they certainly had cool stage attire!

It's not really certain if the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet had any relation to the Seattle Letter Carriers' Band – which formed here back in 1892 (and carries on today as the Washington Letter Carriers Band) –  but that possibility does seem quite likely. The original Quartet was a vocal ensemble comprised of actual postmen including:  John F. Daly (baritone), C.P. Donald (tenor), H.G. Stiles (basso), & L.G. Blaine (lead).

It was in July 1925 that the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet began receiving press coverage in The Seattle Daily Times. On July 5th the group performed in Wenatchee, Washington, before three hundred postal employees who were attending their state convention’s banquet at the Chamber of Commerce Building. Members of three separate organizations – the National Federation of Postoffice Clerks, National Association of Letter Carriers, & the National League of District Postmasters – attended. Quartet member John F. Daly was among a half-dozen attendees who gave brief opening remarks, and later the group sang, with the newspaper reporting that it “scored a decided hit with its selections.”

Three nights later, on July 8th, postmen of the State of Washington gathered at the restaurant in Seattle’s L.C. Smith Building (506 Second Avenue), for another banquet. After welcoming remarks offered by the evening’s toastmaster – R. B. Williams, president of Seattle Branch No. 79 of the National Association of Letter Carriers – the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet entertained the assembled crowd.

The public profile of the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet was rising quickly, & on the evening of July 15th they made what was likely their live radio debut. Hyped as being “the first group of its type ever organized,” the guys – reportedly including new member Oscar Telquist (second tenor) in place of Blaine – performed on the Rhodes Department Store’s (4th Avenue and Pike Street) station, KFOA, as sponsored by the Hopper-Kelly Music Company (1421 3rd Avenue). Song selections broadcast on the program were “Somebody Knows (Medley)” & “Georgia Lullaby.”

Several months later, on the evening of November 6th, the Quartet reappeared on KFOA under sponsorship of Seattle’s Sherman, Clay & Co. (3rd Avenue and Pine Street) music shop. This time they were performing jointly with the six-piece D.A.V. Orchestra, which was comprised of members of the Disabled Americans Veterans of the World War. The following month, on December 11th the "Seattle Postoffice Department" sponsored its own radio program on KFOA – one that spotlighted various talented post office employees, including the Quartet.

Although the documentary trail of evidence regarding the Quartet’s full career of musical activity is quite sparse, it is known that on Friday April 23, 1926, they sang for annual Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Horace Mann school (2410 E Cherry Street). The event took place at the Garfield High School auditorium (400 23rd Avenue) & the Quartet’s performance was among others contributed by the Spiegelmann Trio, whistling soloist Margaret Fogel, a Boys Glee Club, dancing by various student groups, a calisthenics drill, & the “Kitchen Band” a comedy concocted by a group of mothers.

The following year, on the evening of March 15, 1927, the Quartet were slated to “put over some red hot numbers” at an extravaganza held at the boxing ring in Seattle’s Crystal Pool Natatorium (2021-2033 2nd Avenue). After that the Seattle Letter Carriers’ Quartet seems to slip away from the public record – but it is never too late to offer a gesture of gratitude to our ever-intrepid U.S. Postal Service. Thanks to all!