Archives On The Air 177: SPEBSGSA—Laramie Chapter Records

Dec 19, 2019

Photo of a Barbershop Quartet, 1973. Box 1, Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. Laramie, Wyo., Chapter records.
Credit American Heritage Center

Barbershop quartets are a form of a cappella music that started in the 1930s. In 1938 a nationwide group for Barbershop singers appeared. It was called the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. Or if you prefer acronyms, SPEBSQSA.

The long name was a joke to make fun of government agencies created in the New Deal. New Deal agencies had long names and were often referred to by acronyms.

In 2004 the Society rebranded as the Barbershop Harmony Society. The group preserves barbershop quartet sheet music. They hold over 100,000 song titles.

The records of the Laramie chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society can be seen at UW's American Heritage Center.