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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, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Hinckley, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Hinckley, Railroads, Hinckley, IL Station; CB&Q; 9/8/46; Neg. No. 1492, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Creamery Packaging Co. Employees, Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior Creamery Pkg. Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1901; Rowley Photo. Man in derby Frank Wagley, DeKalb, Industrial, People, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Crystal Lake, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Crystal Lake, Railroads, Photo No. 1-190x; Copy by F. R. Ritzman; Engine No. 1152; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Crystal Lake, ILL; Date 1918(?); Remarks Original by Fain, West Chicago., McHenry, Equipment, Economic Development
Evangelical Mission Covenant, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Mission Covenant[Church]; Place 7th & Fisk [Streets], DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Rowley Photo; From envelope: Evangelical Mission Covenant. According to the DeKalb City Directory for 1912 this church at 429 N. 7th was known as the Swedish Mission Church., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Seventh Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, La Fox Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, La Fox, Railroads, CNW; LaFox Station; Aug 3, 1947; Neg. No. 1266, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Looking east from North Third Street, Dekalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking east from North Third St; Place DeKalb, Ill; Date 1904; Note Left to right North School [Pine & 5th], Lutheran Church[Pine & 6th], Red Shops [4th & Locust], Methodist Church [4th & Locust]; Rowly photo, DeKalb, Place, Fourth Street, Locust Street, Economic Development
Bird's eye view from Huntley Park Stand Pipe, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Birds Eye View from Huntley Park Stand Pipe looks No.W; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1928; (Additional Information in pencil; #1. From Huntley Park water tanks top; [looking]north west, Normal School in back; Albert Wedberg 1928 [given to Embree]1956), DeKalb, Residential, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Red Oak, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Red Oak, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Red Oak [Illinois]; Neg. No. 2369, Stephenson, Place, Economic Development
Chicago Great Western, St. Charles, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, St. Charles, Railroads, CGW Engine #875 crossing tressle over Fox River, St. Charles, Illinois; 1945; Neg. No. 1615 [Note:Potawatomi Park in distance], Kane, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois, Seventh Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 1158; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road C&NW; Place DeKalb 7th [Street]; Train Scrap; Date May 18, 1954; Neg No. 456, DeKalb, Equipment, Seventh Street, Economic Development
Gun Club Range on NISNS Campus
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Gun Club Range on N.I.S.N.S. Campus. Note main building in back ground under construction; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date ca. 1897-1899, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois, Seventh Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Road Fruit Express; "Another carload of Schlitz for DeKalb"; Place 7th [St] & C&NW, DeKalb; Date June 9, 1956; Neg No. 1081, DeKalb, Equipment, Seventh Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Waterman, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Waterman, Railroads, Engine Zepher; Road Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Place Waterman Corners, IL; Date 1951; Neg. No. 1491, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
East Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, North side of E. Lincoln Hwy, (between 6th & 7th streets); A&P Supermarket, Ellis Ideal Bakery, Ben Franklin's Stores, The Card shop, 1960, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago Great Western, North Hanover, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, North Hanover, Railroads, North Hanover Station, IL; CGW; Tank in ground. Siding at right was once narrow Gauge line to Hanover; Neg. No. 2502, Jo Daviess, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Elburn, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elburn, Railroads, CNW Elburn, Illinois; 7/21/37; Neg. No. 1263; Photo No. M64, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago Great Western, Clare, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Clare, Railroads, Station, Clare, Ill; Chicago Great Western; Look[ing] West; Ritzman Photo; 8/7/49, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Republican Election Headquarter, Third and Lincoln, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Republican Election Headquarters; Place 3rd & Lincoln, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Oct 1952, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Third Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, near DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Railroads, Photo No. M26x; Road Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; Place Near DeKalb [Illinois] (CM&C trestle); Date 1936; FRR[itzman photo], Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Yards Y. D. Tower
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-204x; Copy by F.R.R[itzman]; Engine No. 387 & 54; Class 387-M1, 54 ?; 387: 0-6-0,54: 4-4-0; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill Yards - Y.D. Tower; Date 1907; Remarks Original owned by Joe Wood, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway 1872, Sycamore, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, Engine No. 37; Class U-3; Type 4-4-0; Road C&NW 1872; Place Sycamore; Date 1873; Remarks Original Geo Kliken, Copy by F.R.R., DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Arlington Hotel, East Lincoln
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Arlington Hotel, Youngsteadt [Tailors & Cleaners]; Place 414-418 E. Lincoln, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; March 8, 1936. (Youngsteadt's at 414, Hotel at 418, and DeKalb Main Shoe Hospital), DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Illinois Central Tracks and Structures, Coleman, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Coleman, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central]; Coleman, Illinois; Tower Watch & Coal; Neg. No. 2613, Kane, Place, Economic Development