Jonathan (J. C.) Goforth moved his family from Canton, Illinois to Bloomington, Illinois in 1903.  Although he and his four sons were all musicians, the careers of two sons were the most prominent. George C. Goforth was a popular leader of the Black and Gold Orchestra in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Earl Goforth (pictured here), also an orchestra leader of that period, had a successful career as a blackface vaudeville comedian with his wife as a team known as Goforth and Doyle.

The Goforth collection consists of 1 box with 19 folders. There are also 4 scrapbooks containing playbills, ads, and articles from 1906 to the 1951. Items in the collection include newspaper articles and clippings, playbills, copies of family obituaries, personal letters, family genealogy, and fan mail from George Goforth’s days on Chicago radio station WLS as an orchestra leader of the Black and Gold Orchestra.