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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, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW; Type 4-4-2; Engine No. 126; Class D; DeKalb, Il. [Station and 6th St. crossing]; 7/23/38; Neg No. 259; Photo No. 1-553, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Barter Room, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Barter Room, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co; Place DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898; Dickerman original, Ritzman copy, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, West Elgin, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elgin, Railroads, CNW Station; West Elgin, IL; Neg. No. 2251, Kane, Place, 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, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, 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
Main Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Original carte-de-visite print given to Embree from Clifford Hunt, May 7, 1944, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Galena, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Galena [Illinois] Station; 10/8/55; Neg. No. 2364; [Freight Station on left, Passenger Station on right], Jo Daviess, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Railroads, Photo No. 1-293x; Engine No. 1096; Class D; Type 4-4-2; Road C&NW; From William Ruth, Chicago; Date 1934, Equipment, Economic Development
Glidden Wire Co, Red Shop Employees
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Glidden Wire Co, Red Shop Employees, 1896, DeKalb, People, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Genoa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Genoa, Railroads, Sycamore Woodstock Traction Piers, Over CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific] Tracks; Date Nov. 14, 1953; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Milw. Viaduct
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-288x, F.R.R [photo]; Engine No. 3019; Class H; Type 4-8-4; Road Chicago & Northwestern; DeKalb, Ill. [at] Milw. Viaduct; Train Ind 11; Time 12:30P; Date 10/20/35, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1100 State Street, DeKalb, Illinois. View looking south down 11th Street., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Eleventh Street, State Street, Religion
DeKalb Wagon Company Sign, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb Wagon Co, Sign on Warehouse, *Gurler Street, DeKalb, Illinois, March 30, 1941. [* Address was 229 W. Garden Street]. The sign reads, "DeKalb Wagon Company, Business Wagons, Commercial Auto Bodies.", DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb House Hotel
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb House [Hotel], 4th Street and Main, ca. 1886 [Original owned by Richard Kool], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Shabbona Grove, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Shabbona, Railroads, Photo No. M61; Station; Road C&NW; Place Shabbona Grove, Ill; Date 8/1/37; Neg. No. 1235, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Marengo, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Marengo, Railroads, CNW Station Marengo, 6/21/46; Neg. No. 1230, McHenry, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Herbert, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Herbert, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Herbert, Illinois; Date April 23, 1939; Photo No. M109; Neg. No. 1210, Boone, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Interior of Haish Library, NISNS
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior Haish Library, N.I.S.N.S. [building]; Place DeKalb, Ill; Date 1903, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, DeKalb, IL Station; 6/2/1904, 12:25 noon; Engine No. 120 [on right] Type 4-6-2 Class B-1 C&NW 1882, Scrapped 1911; Engine No. 1025 [on left]; Type 4-4-2; Class D Schen. 1901, Scrapped 1937; Neg. No. 2446, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M7; Tower YD; Road C&NW Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill; Date July 1934; From Wait Embree, DeKalb, Illinois, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Rochelle, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rochelle, Railroads, Rochelle, C&NW under signal bridge, Interchange to 2 at right; Watchman tower; 1956; Ritzman photo; Neg. No. 2548, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Kasbeer, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kasbeer, Railroads, Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place Kasbeer, Ill. Station; Date July 5, 1952; Neg. No. 1493, Bureau, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Scene in front of City Hall, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Scene in front of City Hall; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb, Date 9/14/36; Remarks To show how cars parked on sidewalk; [West side of South 2nd Street], DeKalb, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Bicycle Races at Fairgrounds
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Bicycle Races, Fairgrounds ([pre-]College Campus), Aug. 4, 1894. Photo taken before land was donated for NISNS in 1895., DeKalb, People, Place, Entertainment
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-422; Engine No. 1547; Class E; Type 4-6-2; Road Chicago and North Western Ry; Place DeKalb station; Train No. 23; Time 5:25 P; Date 8/31/36; Remarks Note the raised numbers in front; Neg No. 576, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development