They were first organized in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1946. The original members of the group were Janet Ertel (1913-November 4, 1988), Carol Bushman (her sister-in-law), Dorothy Schwartz, and Jinny Osborn (or Lockard) (April 25, 1927-May 19, 2003). In 1952, Lynn Evans replaced Schwartz, and in 1953, Margie Needham replaced Osborn (who was having a baby), though Osborn later returned to the group. Nancy Overton also was a member of the group at a later time. Originally they sang folk music in the style of The Weavers, but eventually changed to a harmonizing style of the type known as barbershop harmony. Part of this change seems to be influenced by Osborn's father.
Jinny Osborn was born in Seattle, Washington. She was born Virginia Cole, the daughter of O. H. "King" Cole, who was president of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), and Katherine Flack.
After performing locally in Sheboygan, they went on Arthur Godfrey's radio program, Talent Scouts. They went on to feature status on Godfrey's daily program, and then went on to make a number of recordings for Columbia Records.
In 1953, Godfrey's music director and orchestra leader, Archie Bleyer, founded Cadence Records. He signed a number of Godfrey regulars and former regulars, including the Chordettes, who had a number of hit records for Cadence.
Their biggest hit was Mr. Sandman in 1954. Archie Bleyer himself is on that record along with the group.
In 1961, Jinny Osborn left the group, and they were unable to find a replacement with whom they were happy, leading to a breakup.
Jinny Osborn (by that time Jinny Janis) died in 2003.