Primary tabs

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

First Baptist Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Baptist Church; Place 3rd & Prospect Sts, DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Jan. 1, 1950, DeKalb, Religious, Place, Third Street, Religion
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Golden Anniversary Homecoming Parade, Northern Illinois State Teachers College; Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois, Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
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
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois, Third Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Switch Track; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place 3rd St. DeKalb, Ill. Look[ing]east along side track; Date July 28, 1957; Neg No. 1145, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Third Street, 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
Looking north east from Gas Tanks along Chicago and Northewestern Railway to Sycamore, DeKalb,Iliinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking Northeast from Gas Tanks along C&NW Ry to Sycamore; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Date 1937; Original photo by F.R. Ritzman; Owned by F.R. Ritzman; [Pleasant Street crosses middle of photo], [Dup of 1a0-3 dated 1936], DeKalb, Industrial, Residential, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Shabbona, Illinois Bridge
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Shabbona, Railroads, Photo No. 1-352x; Engine[s] No. 1491 & 1221; Class 1491 - Z, 1221 - R1; Type 1491 2-8-0, 1221 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Shabbona, Illinois Bridge; Train Spring Valley, No. 373; Date August 1937; Remarks Photo by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
East Lincoln Highway being re-paved, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title East Lincoln Highway showing construction of new pavement; Place DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date 1932; Remarks Looking west fron 6th Street; Original by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
First Baptist Church, Third and Prospect, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Baptist Church; Place Third and Prospect, DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date 1893; Remarks Given to Frank Rolfe by Sunday School Teacher Cora G. Earl; Original owned by Waite Embree; Remarks from Frank Rolfe. In pencil "Frank From Cora G Earl S.S. Teacher Dec. 25 xmas 1893" Original is a card print., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Second Street, Religion
Interior of DeKalb Public Library
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior DeKalb Public Library; Place Second Floor, Chronicle Bldg, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date about 1923-1928; Standing: Margaret Powers, DeKalb, Educational, People, Place, Economic Development
First Congregational Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Congregational Church; Place 2nd & Grove, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Mar. 24, 1897; From E.E. Embree. [Note the deep snow the wagon is driving through]. Original is a small card print., DeKalb, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Decorations, NISTC 50th Homecoming
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Decorations, N.I.S.T.C. 50th Homecoming; Place 1st & Locust, Looking No.W [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 1948, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois 8th Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-203; Engine No. 102; Class K; Type 0-4-0; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, 8th St (Note "car shop" behind); Date 1894; Remarks Original in poss[ion] of Joe Wood, Joe Wood second from right; F.R.Ritzman copy photo, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Eighth Street, 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
Chicago and Northwestern, McGirr, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, McGirr, Railroads, Photo No. M59; Road C&NW; Place McGirr, Illinois; Date 8/1/37; Neg. No. 1221, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Freeport, Illinois Passenger and Freight Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, CNW Passenger & Freight Station; Freeport, IL; 4/14/1950; Note: Chicago & Northwestern, and Illinois Central [both] use passenger station jointly; Neg. No. 2309, Stephenson, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Henrietta, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Henrietta, Railroads, CNW Station; Henrietta, Illinois; 10/20/46; Neg. No. 1223, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Great Western Tower, Sycamore, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, Enlargement of Photo 1-673; C&NW Engine No. 484; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Great Western Tower; Sycamore, Ill; 8/15/39; Neg. No. 356, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois, Kishwaukee Bridge
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW [Type] 4-4-0; [Engine] No. 662; Class C3; Approx. 1897; Kishwaukee [River] Bridge; Elmer Embree orig.; Neg No. 2461, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Shabbona, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Shabbona, Railroads, 7-60; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Shabbona, IL Station; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Creston, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Creston, Railroads, Crossing Shanty; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Creston, Illinois; Date April 3, 1938; This is used for operators office; Photo No. M 71; Neg No. 1129, Ogle, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Abram Ellwood Mfg Company, Pleasant Street , DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, [Information from this print and two duplicate prints] Title Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant Street and Chicago & North Western Railroad tracks, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897-1899; Dickerman photo, Ritzman copy, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Pearl Street Viaduct
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 2491(?); Type 2-8-2; Class Js; Place DeKalb, Ill. Pearl Street Viaduct; Train Extra Freight; Neg. No. 161, DeKalb, Pearl Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Fifth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 938; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois 5th Street; Train No. 373 Spring Valley Frt; Date May 21, 1940; Photo No. 1-729; Neg No. 411, DeKalb, Equipment, Fifth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Nelson, Illinois Station and Towe rNJ
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Nelson, Railroads, Photo No. M27X; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Nelson, Ill., Station & Tower NJ; Date 1933; Remarks Note the "acorn" over sign; FRR[itzman, photo], Lee, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development