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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

Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Sixth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-223x; Engine No. 2075; Class M1; Type 0-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry.; Place DeKalb, Illinois, Sixth Street, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Dept. Personel
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, 1914-1915; Standing left to right: Price, Wall, Heath, Smith, Olson, McEvoy; behind DeKalb Fire Station, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Main Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Postcard published by Secor's Pharmacy, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Truck
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept; Place DeKalb, Ill Fire Station [North 4th Street]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Frank Stevens [on right?], DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Dairy Company, Delivery Wagon
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Dairy Company, Dairy Delivery Wagon; Place East Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Man [by wagon]is Will Norton. Picture from Charles Raymond. Note Fire Wagon in background., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
First Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, on back of postcard: "First Lutheran Church, Third and Pine, DeKalb, Ill"; Note: This church building was built in 1916, the address is 330 N. Third Street, and at that time was called the First Evangelical Lutheran Church., DeKalb, Residential, Place, Pine Street, Third Street, Religion
Fire Station No. 1, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Fire Station No. 1, 124 N. 4th Street, DeKalb, Ill, ca. 1903-1912, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept.
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept; Place DeKalb [Illinois] Fire Station [on North 4th Street]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Standing, #4 - L.L. Smith; Seated Morris Kennedy, Mike McEvoy, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mendota, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mendota, Railroads, CB&Q; Mendota [Illinois] 1918; Engines; 1-210X, LaSalle, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Post card, East and West Mills, American Steel and Wire
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, East & West Mills, located on North 10th St, DeKalb, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Tenth 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
Watchman's Tower, DeKalb
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Sent to: Miss Edith Lindquist, 621 So. Cross St., Sycamore, Ill; Hello Edith, Want you to see what you think of the tower and [work]force. the one with a x is the one I was speaking of. Be careful how you handle this, it's expensive. Be good, Geo. Give my regards to Cousin Herman, Ha, Ha. [Original photo taken in DeKalb in June 1908] CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Railroad, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development