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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, Earlville, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Earlville, Railroads, CNW and CBQ [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy]; Earlville, Illinois [looking] East; 8/16/49, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb City Hall
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title City Hall; Place South Second street, DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date July 1937; Remarks Note the brick walk before the street was repaved., DeKalb, Government, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Sycamore Traction Co., DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Interurban; Title DeKalb Sycamore Traction Co, Open Car #67; Place Electric Park near DeKalb, IL; Date Aug. 4, 1904; Conductor on trailor: Mr. P. Swanson; Ritzman Copy; Neg. No. 2249, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade, DeKalb Fire Truck
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. Homecoming Parade - 50th; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct 9, 1948; Note: DeKalb Com. Fire Truck, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Chicago and Northwestern Wreck, DeKalb (?), Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, from front of image; "C&NW Wreck,April 23,'08," DeKalb(?); Copy print from F.R.Ritzman, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Wreck, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW Wrecking crew, DeKalb, Il, August 7, 1954 [S. 2nd St at Grove, note law office of Julius Matteson at 203 Grove], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, People, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
First Methodist Church, Fourth and Oak Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Methodist Church; Place 4th & Oak Sts, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date November 1946. Church address is 317 N. 4th, DeKalb, Religious, Place, Fourth Street, Oak Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, Garden Prairie, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Garden Prairie, Railroads, C&NW Station, Garden Prairie, 1946; Neg No. 1228, Boone, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Massed Bands, NISTC Homecoming Close Up
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Massed Bands, N.I.S.T.C. Homecoming (50); Place Football Field; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Oct 9, 1948; N.I.S.T.C. Band - center, DTHS [DeKalb Township High School Band] - left., DeKalb, People, Place, Entertainment
DeKalb House, Fourth and Main
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb House [Hotel], N.E. Corner of 4th & Main, DeKalb, Ill., 1886. Copy [photo from] F.R. Ritzman, Original owned by Richard Kool., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Pleasant Street Crossing
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M21; Road Chicago and North Western Ry; Place DeKalb [Illinois], Pleasant St. crossing; Date 1932; Remarks Watchman's shanty on left built by Northern Illinois 1886; F.R.R. [photo], DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Election Headquarter, Third and Lincoln, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Election Headquarters; Place 3rd & Lincoln [DeKalb, Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Oct. 1952, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Third Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Wilkinson, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Wilkinson, Railroads, Looking North along CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Grade Crossing;Wilkinson, IL; 8/3/41; CGW [Engine] 860; Neg. No. 2516, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Lockport, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Lockport, Railroads, AT&SFe [Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad]; Station - Lockport; 10/23/48; Neg. No. 1391, Will, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Geneva, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Geneva, Railroads, Engine No. 718; Type 4-6-0; Class S1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry.; Place Geneva, Illinois; Date 1902; Photo No. 1-386x; Photo by Ritzman, Kane, Equipment, 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, IL; 1934; Note painted sign for "Foiles Garage, Safe Modern" on wall., DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Wurlitzer
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 1053; Type Diesel Switch; Road & Northwestern; Place DeKalb, [at] Wurlitzer plant; Ritzman Photo; Remarks Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Engine #1862 off track behind [the C&NW engine and car], DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Meriden, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Meriden, Railroads, Meriden Station; CB&Q Railroad; July 15, 1951; Ritzman Photo, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Seventh Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-202x; Engine No. 387; Class M1; Type 0-6-0; Road C&NW [Chicago & North Western]; Place DeKalb, Ill, 7th Street; Date 1907; Remarks Original owned by Joe Wood, Joe Wood extreme right; Copy [photo by] F.R.R[itzman], DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Seventh Street, Economic Development
Nehring Electric Works, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Nehring Electric Works, located at N. 6th Street and Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois. Photo taken of back of building from across railroad tracks from about 5th Street., DeKalb, Industrial, 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] Viaduct over Lincoln Highway; DeKalb, IL; 1934; 3/47, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Pony and Cart, Embree's (?) yard Second Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Pony & Cart; Place [in front of] Embree [Lumber] Yard, So. 2nd [St], DeKalb, Ill; Date 1942, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Lobby of DeKalb Post Office
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lobby U.S. Post Office; Place DeKalb , Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1907; Xmas present [from] F.R. Ritzman 1950, Ritzman copy [of] A.R. Meize [Mieze?] photo, DeKalb, Government, Place, Economic Development
Great Northern Railway, Waterman, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Waterman, Railroads, Engine William Crookes; Type 4-4-0; Road Great Northern Ry; Place Waterman, Illinois; Train Extra. Trip to New York World Fair; Date March 17, 1939; Photo No. 1179; Neg. No. 1729, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Coal Chutes
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M 43; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill Coal Chutes; Train No. 2811 and Tr. 381; Time 12:30P; Date 2/27/37; Neg. No. 1171, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Economic Development