Joseph H. Goldenhersh was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on November 2, 1914. He received his LL.B. degree from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Missouri and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in February 1936. After privately practicing law, he served as Appellate Court Justice from 1964 to 1970. He was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois in December 1970 and re-elected in 1980. He succeeded Justice Byron O. House, and was succeeded by Justice Joseph F. Cunningham. His memberships included the East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois and American Bar Associations. Justice Goldenhersh served as president of the East St. Louis Bar Association and also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Appellate Judges Conference of the American Bar Association, and was affiliated with the Democratic party. Justice Goldenhersh married the former Maxyne Zelenka; they had two sons.