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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

NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. 50th Anniversary Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Barbed Wire Spooler
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Barbed Wire, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Galena, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Galena, IL Station; 8/2/50; Neg. No. 2362, Jo Daviess, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Department, Station #1, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Department; Place Fire Station #1, North Fourth St, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1913; Ladder Wagon on left - Chemical Wagon on right. On Ladder Wagon: Wm. Wall, Phil Showalter; Standing: Mike McEvoy, Tom Jackson; On Chemical Wagon: Wm. Harmes, Tom Murray; Civilians not identified, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Ladd, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Ladd, Railroads, Enginehouse and Tank; Road Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific; Place Ladd, Illinois; Date March 24, 1939; Photo No. M106, Bureau, Place, Economic Development
Second Street from Grove look Northeast, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, South Second Street from Grove Looking Northeast, DeKalb, Illinois; 1937; Embree Lumber and Coal Yard at left., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Horse drawn Fire Equipment , DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Horse drawn Fire Equipment; Place Fire Station No. 1, [on North 4th Street], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Left to Right: Tom Murray, Mike McEvoy, Jake Price, Wm. Wall, L.L. Smith; R. Shoop; from Wall 4/10/1938, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Kingston, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kingston, Railroads, CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Station; Kingston, IL; 11/5/1949, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Rollo, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rollo, Railroads, CNW Station, Rollo, Illinois; August 1, 1937; An Old Northern Illinois Line, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Republican election Headquarter, Third and Lincoln, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Republican Election Headquarters; Place 3rd & Lincoln, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Oct 1952, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Third Street, Economic Development
First Methodist Church Softball Boys Team
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, on back of postcard: 1914, From Mrs. S.E. Bradt. Identification sheet lists the following names: [top] Guigle, Rattenberry; [middle] Unget Lyon, Eddie Walsh, Warren Bagg, Herbert Wiltberger, Birdell Klock, Chas. Parson, Clarence Stegmeir, Tyler Rankin; [bottom] Stevert Anderson, Waite Embree, Lester Rundell, Ralph Stegmire, Chas. Bradt, Robert Lyon., DeKalb, People, Entertainment
First Methodist Church, and First Church of Christ Scientist, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Methodist Church [at left in the distance] and First Church of Christ Scientist, taken from N. 3rd & [near] Oak St; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1909. The address for the Methodist Church is 317 N. 4th, and that of the First Church of Christ Scientist, 222 N. 3rd., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Oak Street, Third Street, Religion
Methodist Episcopal Church, Fourth and Locust Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Methodist Episcopal Church; Place 4th & Locust Sts, DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1888; Original by Oleson. [J.O. Oleson was a professional photographer in DeKalb], DeKalb, Residential, Place, Fourth Street, Locust Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, Henrietta, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Henrietta, Railroads, CNW Station, Henrietta, Illinois, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Looking Northeast from Huntley park stand pipe, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb, Ill, Looking Northeast from Huntley Park Stand Pipe; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1928; Albert Wedberg Photo [given to Embree]1956; (Additional information in pencil #3. North from Huntley Park, 3rd Street going north, Electric plant), DeKalb, Residential, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific]Viaduct over Lincoln Highway, DeKalb; 1934; Note the "Stop at Deane's Garage" sign painted on viaduct wall, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, Cortland, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Cortland, Railroads, Depot; Road C&NWRR; Place Cortland, Ill; Date July 2, 1949; Neg. No. 1193, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Union Grove Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Union Grove, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place Union Grove; Date Oct 26, 1952; Neg. No. 1270, Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
American Steel and Wire Co, Welfae Building (Hospital), Sixth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title American Steel & Wire; Place Welfare Building (the Hospital) 6th St.[DeKalb, IL]; County DeKalb; Date March 30, 1940, DeKalb, Medical, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Lee, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Lee, Railroads, Ritzman Photo; Look[ing] South; Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place Lee, Ill; Date 7/16/49; Neg. No. 2552, Lee, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mendota, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mendota, Railroads, Photo No. 222; Engine No. Advance Zepher Mark Twain; Road CB&Q; Place Mendota, Ill. Station; Date 6/19/36; Time 7:45 AM; 63/50; Neg. No. 1480, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, [Looking south down N. 6th Street toward Lincoln Highway, view of back side of Nehring Electrical Works Plant #2]; DeKalb, Feb. 1947; Neg. No. 2472, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
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, Place, Economic Development
Glidden House, snow
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Glidden House [Hotel]; Place No. East Corner 2nd & Main [Lincoln], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1894; Knodle photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Second Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Department Station No. 1
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb Fire Dept., DeKalb, Ill. Fire Station No. 1, 1916 (Copy 3); Equip: 1st Seagrave truck on left, & the Randolph; L.L. Smith, Morris Kennedy, Wm McConn, Earl Morris, Percy Hannan, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development