Peter Goebel was born in Germany in 1836 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1849. He attended Marthasville Seminary (later Eden Theological Seminary) and graduated in 1860. After leading churches in Indiana and Illinois (Newburg, Boonville, and Cumberland, Indiana and Alhambra, Illinois), he was appointed to head Elmhurst College in 1880. He left in 1887 to become pastor of a church in Peotone, Illinois.
Papers include biographical material, Johann Peter Goebel's ordination certificate, a printed genealogy of the Goebel family, and a program commemorating the 60th anniversary of the ordination of John Goebel (son of Johann Peter).