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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, Henrietta, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Henrietta, Railroads, CNW Station; Henrietta, Illinois; 10/20/46; Neg. No. 1223, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, 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, IL; 4/14/1950; Note: Chicago & Northwestern, and Illinois Central [both] use passenger station jointly; Neg. No. 2309, Stephenson, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, McGirr, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, McGirr, Railroads, Photo No. M59; Road C&NW; Place McGirr, Illinois; Date 8/1/37; Neg. No. 1221, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois 8th Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-203; Engine No. 102; Class K; Type 0-4-0; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, 8th St (Note "car shop" behind); Date 1894; Remarks Original in poss[ion] of Joe Wood, Joe Wood second from right; F.R.Ritzman copy photo, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Eighth Street, Economic Development
Decorations, NISTC 50th Homecoming
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Decorations, N.I.S.T.C. 50th Homecoming; Place 1st & Locust, Looking No.W [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 1948, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
First Congregational Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Congregational Church; Place 2nd & Grove, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Mar. 24, 1897; From E.E. Embree. [Note the deep snow the wagon is driving through]. Original is a small card print., DeKalb, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Interior of DeKalb Public Library
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior DeKalb Public Library; Place Second Floor, Chronicle Bldg, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date about 1923-1928; Standing: Margaret Powers, DeKalb, Educational, People, Place, Economic Development
First Baptist Church, Third and Prospect, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Baptist Church; Place Third and Prospect, DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date 1893; Remarks Given to Frank Rolfe by Sunday School Teacher Cora G. Earl; Original owned by Waite Embree; Remarks from Frank Rolfe. In pencil "Frank From Cora G Earl S.S. Teacher Dec. 25 xmas 1893" Original is a card print., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Second Street, Religion
Trinity Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Trinity Lutheran Church, 830 Grove at South 9th Street, DeKalb, Illinois. Sometime after 1941 it became Grove Street Baptist Church., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Ninth Street, Economic Development, Religion