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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 Great Western Holcomb Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Holcomb, Railroads, Holcomb, CGW, Aug. 6, 1950, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Sterling, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sterling, Railroads, CNW Station Sterling; Apr 1950; C&NW FRR[itzman photo], Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
American Steel and Wire Company Buildings from North Sixth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title American Steel and Wire Company Buildings from North Sixth Street; Place DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date April 29, 1939, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Industrial, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Lyndon, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Lyndon, Railroads, Photo No. M32; Road Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Place Lyndon, Ill. Station; Date 9/20/36; Remarks Note the train order signal; Neg. No. 1497, Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Sandwich, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sandwich, Railroads, Photo No. M48; Road Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Place Sandwich, Illinois Station; Date April 18, 1937; Neg. No. 1506, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Geneva, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Geneva, Railroads, C&NW Ry Station, Geneva, Ill., 6/60; Ritzman Photo, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Passenger Station, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW Passenger Station, DeKalb, Ill. [looking East from 6th St], 12/10/34, 12:15 P.M., Bright Snow 22/25, Neg. No. 1167, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Dundee Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Railroads, Photo No. M29X; Road Chicago and Northwestern; Place Dundee Station; Date 1930; Remarks This is the original station (frame) built by the Fox River Line, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Engine Room, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Engine Room, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant St, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897-1898, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Engine No. 1654; Type 4-6-2; Class E; President Harding Funeral Train, Malta, Illinois, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Economic Development
Englander Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Englander Bedspring Manufacturer was located at 436 East Locust St, DeKalb, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Industrial, Place, Locust Street, Economic Development
North Third Street showing election Trailers, Third and Lincoln, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title North 3rd St Showing Election Trailers; Place 3rd & Lincoln [DeKalb, Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Nov 4, 1952, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Third Street, Economic Development
C& NW Railroad Station, Malta, Ill.
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Malta, Illinois; Date 1908 (?); Photo by Copy of postcard from Lyda Welch copy by F. R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Rochelle, Illinois Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rochelle, Railroads, Enginehouse; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Rochelle, Illinois; Date 1920; Photo No. M36X; Photo by Ritzman, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Main Street looking west from Post Office, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Main Street looking West from Post Office [1st Street]; Place DeKalb, Ill; Date 1904; Ritzman copy, Rowley Original. Note: Sign for "Normal Livery Transfer" on left., DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Photo No. 1-219x; Engine No. 1527; Class E; Type 4-6-2; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Malta, Illinois; Time Noon; Date 1913-14; Remarks Note the train on passing track. Probably the way freight; Photo rcd[received]1935; Photo by O.J. Gable, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
American Steel and Wire Co, West Works Red shop, 4th and Locust NW corner DeKalb Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title American Steel & Wire Co. West Works - Red Shop; Place 4th & Locust, NW Corner, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Feb. 1940; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Industrial, Place, Fourth Street, Locust Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 1221; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place DeKalb Ill Station; Train Work; Date 6/10/51; Neg No. 460, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, 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; Remarks Looking east from 6th street; Original by F. R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Melville Clark Piano Co, Exterior, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Melville Clark Piano Co from West Pleasant St; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1906; Rowley Photo; note railroad tracks in foreground, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
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. 261; Photo No. 1-555, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Back of Glidden House Hotel from Locust Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Back side of the Hotel DeKalb [formerly Glidden House, from Locust Street looking south toward Lincoln Highway], DeKalb, Illinois, 1943, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Locust Street, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central] Engine No. 2421; Type 4-8-2; Freeport, IL; 6/15/41; Neg. No. 1804, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Genoa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Genoa, Railroads, Piers; Road Sycamore Woodstock Traction, Over CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific] Tracks; Place Genoa, Ill; Date Nov 14, 1953, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Lincoln Highway from Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lincoln Highway from 4th St [looking west]; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 1, 1922; C.L. Gunn photo; Farm Bureau Decennial [10 year]Celebration., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development