W. W. Embree Collection

Waite W. Embree and his father, Elmer E. Embree, preserved most of the historical materials generated by the family’s business and social activities, which the Regional History Center acquired in 1967. Waite, especially, was an avid collector of materials related to the history of DeKalb and the history of railroading. In the absence of an active county historical society, Waite Embree filled a void in DeKalb County with his keen interest in the preservation of the county’s past for many decades. Waite’s interests and foresight makes the Embree Collection one of the most unique in the Center with regard to the documentation of DeKalb and the local area through photographs and postcards. The collection is also particularly strong in the evolution of railroads during the first half of the twentieth century, with focus on those that operated in the Northern Illinois region.

Researchers should note that much of Embree’s postcard collection have been added to the Center’s postcard collection (RC 199), while his war poster collection has been added to the Oversize Collection (RC 200).

For more information about this collection, please see the Center's finding aid or contact

DeKalb Fire Department, North Fourth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Department; Place No. 4th Street; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1913; Left to right: Hook & Ladder, Webb Truck; Men on wagon: Otto Olson, Robt Murphy Murphy; On truck: L.L. Smith, Percy Hannan, on seat Wm. Wall, Mike McEvoy. Civilain not identified.; Photo from Wm. Wall, Ritzman copy, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Peru, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Peru, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Place Peru, Illinois; Date March 24, 1939; Photo No. M102; Neg. No. 1504, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Daily Chronicle Building, Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title North Side Lincoln Highway from 1st [Street]; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 11/15/59; Ritzman photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern North yard Belvidere, Illinois Engine house and Coal Chute
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Belvidere, Railroads, CNW; Engine house & coal chute; North yard, Bellvidere, Il; March 28, 1937; Photo No. M47; Neg. No. 1289, Boone, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
McMurray Training School from back side
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, McMurray Training School, view looking southwest, 1917. On the left is the Northern Illinois State Normal School Administration building, now known as Altgeld Hall., DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
DeKalb Waterworks, Main Pumping Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Pearl Street Reservoir & Main Pumping Station; Place Pearl Street & C&NW [RR tracks] DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897?; Looking east from C&NW Grade; Rowley photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Pearl Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Walton, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Walton, Railroads, CB&Q; Walton, IL Station, 8/16/49, Lee, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Right of way, Dekalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Title C&NW Right of Way; Place From Right to roof look east, 4th Street Crossing, [Main St/Lincoln Hwy runs diagonally from left corner]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date March 1897; Engine No. 50; Class H1; Photo No. M40x, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, North Aurora, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, North Aurora, Railroads, Station; Road CB&Q; Place North Aurora, IL; Date 1952; Neg. No. 1499, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
NISNS girls basketball team
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Normal School Girls Basketball Team; Place DeKalb, Illinois; Date 1908-1909; Miss Foster, rear right, instructor [photo appears in 1909 NORTHER yearbook], DeKalb, Educational, People, Education, Women and Gender
Illinois Central Railroad, Colvin Park, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Colvin Park, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Station - Colvin Park, IL; 4/23/1939; Neg. No. 2361, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Galena, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Galena [Illinois] Station; 8/2/50; Neg. No. 2363, Jo Daviess, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Kishwaukee River bridge, Kingston, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kingston, Railroads, Engine No. 484; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Kishwaukee River bridge, Kingston [Illinois]; Train North way freight; Date July 4, 1940; Photo No. 1-427x; Photo by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb, Bliss Woods, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sugar Grove, Railroads, Interurban; Road Chicago, Aurora & DeKalb; Place Bliss Woods; Date Aug 1914; Engine No. 21&22; Photo No. 1166x; Neg. No. 2450; Ritzman photo, Kane, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Japanese One Man Submarine in DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Japanese One-man Submarine on tour, parked in front of F.W. Woolworth Co. Store, 251 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, 1943, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Trinity Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Trinity Lutheran Church, 830 Grove at South 9th Street, DeKalb, Illinois. Sometime after 1941 it became Grove Street Baptist Church., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Ninth Street, Economic Development, Religion
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific]; Wrecking Viaduct; DeKalb [Illinois]; 1948, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Superior Barbed Wire, South, Second Street between Main and Chicago and Northwestern east side, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Barbed Wire, Superior Barb Wire Factory, South Second Street between Main [Lincoln Hwy] & C&NW [tracks] east side, DeKalb, Ill; Original from Kurdle about 1898, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Fairgrounds, Crowd on Track
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Rair Grounds NIU Campus; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Aug 4, 1894; [Original from Louis Tyrrell "Lou Tyrelle"] This photo was taken before the land was even donated for NISNS in 1895., DeKalb, People, Place, Entertainment
Glidden House Hotel
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Glidden House [Hotel]; Place No E corner, 2nd & Main [Lincoln], DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1894; B.C. Knodle picture, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Second Street, Economic Development