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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, Alden, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Alden, Railroads, Structure: Station; Place: Alden, Illinois; Road: Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Date: August 25, 1938; Remarks: Looking west on Kenosha Division; Photo No. M77; Neg. No. 1257, McHenry, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, View of North Second Street, DeKalb, 1947., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, West Brooklyn, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, West Brooklyn, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place West Brooklyn, IL; Date 7/5/52; Neg. No. 1518, Lee, 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, Illinois; April 14, 1950; CNW and IC [Illinois Central] use passenger station jointly; Neg. No. 2563, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Lincoln Highway looking west from Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking West from 4th, Lincoln Highway; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date June 19, 1949, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Ohio, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Ohio, Railroads, CBQ; Ohio, IL Station; [Looking] East 8/16/49; Neg. No. 1502, Bureau, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Mendota, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mendota, Railroads, Photo No. 520; Engine No. 2962; Type 2-10-2; Road Illinois Central RR; Place Mendota, Illinois; Train Freight; Date Sept. 8, 1937; Neg. No. 1781, LaSalle, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb Molasses Feed, Company, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Molassas Feed; Place No. 7[th Street] & C&NW [railroad tracks], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Nov. 23, 1957, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Seventh Street, Economic Development
Glidden and Rippi Cheese Factory, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Glidden Rippi Cheese Plant; Place 210 No. 6th St, DeKalb, Ill; Date Nov. 21, 1953; sign reads, "Glidden & Riippi, Cottage Cheese, Butter, Buttermilk, We Buy Cream", DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Fourth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 4001; Type 4-6-4; Class E4; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Fourth Street; Train No. 3 Clinton Local; Date March 12, 1939; Photo No. 1-525; First trip of this engine., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Sterling, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sterling, Railroads, CNW Station, Sterling; Apr 1959; CB&Q [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy]; FRR[itzman photo], Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, DeKalb Junction, Illinois Waterman's Tower
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Detail from postcard #755-2a. CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Watchman's Tower, DeKalb Jct, IL; 1908, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Wilkinson, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Wilkinson, Railroads, CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Grade Crossing Looking East; Wilkinson, IL; 8/3/41; Neg. No. 2622, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Genoa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Genoa, Railroads, Engine 1146; Road Illinois Central; Place Genoa, Ill; July 1953; Neg. No. 1817, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Steward, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Steward, Railroads, CMSTP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific]; Structure: Towers, Coal and Water; Steward Junction, Look[ing] N[orth]; 7/16/49; Ritzman Photo; Neg. No. 2519, Lee, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Sycamore, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, CNW [Chicago Northwestern] Station, Sycamore [Illinois]; 10/1/1937; Neg. No. 2310, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Looking west from Cyclone Tower, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking West from Cyclone Tower; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Dec 1937; [Pleasant Street runs from bottom left to top right], DeKalb, Residential, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Employees of Abram Ellwood Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Employees of Abram Ellwood Co; Place Pleasant St, DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898; Woman is Belle Embree; Photograph taken by Elmer Embree, DeKalb, Industrial, People, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. Golden Anniversary Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948; [taken from Chronicle building,near 1st Street], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, First Street, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Photo No. M44; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Water tank at Malta, Illinois Two Class H engines taking water; Date 3/7/37; Neg. No. 1291, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-372; Engine No. 2812; Class J 4; Type 2-8-4; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Station [at 6th Street]; Train 381; Date Sept. 21, 1935; Remarks Neg No. 244, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Bradt and Shipman Glove Factory Interior, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Bradt & Shipman Glove Factory Warehouse; Place 3rd & Franklin [Streets], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Left to right; Henry Rolfe, Ed Hunt, Jim Parks, Horace Griffith; Henry Rolfe Original [photo], Ritzman copy., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Department, North Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Dept; Place Fire Station [on] No 4th, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1922, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
South East Corner Second Street and Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, South East Corner of 2nd & Lincoln Highway, DeKalb. Note State Route 30 sign [on post in front of Snyder Floral Shop, 204 E. Lincoln]; April 13, 1938, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Second Street, Economic Development
Looking west from Gas Tanks, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking West from Gas Tanks; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1936; Ritzman Photo; [Market Street at center of photo; Oak Street near left side of photo; Finnish Lutheran Church on State Street on right side of photo], DeKalb, Residential, Place, Market Street, Oak Street, Economic Development