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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, Ottawa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Ottawa, Railroads, Photo No. M40; Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place Ottawa, Illinois; Date 1898?; Remarks Negative is a [glass] plate, EH Wagner photo, LaSalle, Equipment, Economic Development
Methodist Float , DeKalb Centennial Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb, Religious, Place, Entertainment, Religion
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, DeKalb, Illinois, Burlin, ton trains Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. B1x; Bus No. 69; Road Burlington Trans Co (CB&QRR); Place DeKalb, Ill [Lincoln Highway/Main Street between 3rd & 4th]; Date 7/6/36; Remarks Old type Bus; Neg. No. 2447, FRR[Ritzman photo], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Triumph, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Triumph, Railroads, CNW Station, Triumph, Illinois, 8/16/49, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Ladd, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Ladd, Railroads, Enginehouse and Tank; Road Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific; Place Ladd, Illinois; Date March 24, 1939; Photo No. M106, Bureau, 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
Wagon DeKalb Dairy Company, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Wagon DeKalb Dairy Co; Place In front of 616 So. 3, DeKalb,[Ill]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 25,'41; Children are from left: Carl Olson, Joyce Ann Clark, Dean Storey, and George Embree. 616 South 3rd Street was the Waite W. Embree home., DeKalb, Residential, Equipment, People, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Truck
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept; Place DeKalb, Ill Fire Station [North 4th Street]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Frank Stevens [on right?], DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Freight Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M30; Road Chicago, Milwaukee, & Gary (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific); Place DeKalb Freight Station; Date 6/28/36, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Spring Valley, IL (?)
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Spring Valley, Railroads, 1934; Spring Valley Yard; Shown, 1397; Photo No. M6X, Bureau, Equipment, Economic Development
Creamery Packaging Co, Pleasant Street, Dekalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Creamery Package Co, Pleasant Street; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Nov. 19, 1956, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal School Looking North
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Ill State Normal School Looking North; Place DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb, Twp DeKalb; Date 1900; Original from Oliver Everette, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Wurlitzer Trucks close to building, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Wurlitzer Trucks; Place DeKalb, Ill [from Pleasant Street]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 7/4/60; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Elburn, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elburn, Railroads, CNW; Elburn, Illinois; 8/12/56; This is the original station building on the original site. Note the mile post 44 at right; Neg. No. 1248, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Men outside Abram Ellwood Mfg. Company building
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Company was located on Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Advent Christian Church and Personage, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Advent (Covenent) Christian Church and Parsonage; Place 430 N. 7th [the parsonage] & 801 State Street [the church], DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1949; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Religious, Residential, Place, Seventh Street, State Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Fourth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-428; Engine No. 2905; Class E2b; Type 4-6-2; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Fourth St.; Train No. 18 Portland Rose; Date May 30, 1936; Remarks This shows the 4th Street crossing [looking southwest]; Neg No. 780, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, Leland, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Leland, Railroads, CBQ [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy] Station; Leland, IL; Neg. No. 2343, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
Wulitzer Co. Trucks, Looking east from State Street , DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Wurlitzer Trucks; Place Pleasant Street & Chicago and Northwestern Tracks, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 7/4/60; Look east from State [Street]; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Pleasant Street, State Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, West Chicago, Illinois Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, West Chicago, Railroads, Photo No. 1-285x; Engine Pioneer; Type 4-2-0; Road Chicago and North Western Ry; Place West Chicago Enginehouse; Date 1871; Remarks This is a copy of the original photo,[copy photo]by F.R. Ritzman; Neg. No. 2444, DuPage, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central, Polo, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Polo, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central] building at right, McGrath-Hersch Lumber Co. building at center, Polo, IL, Nov. 1946, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Manlius, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Manlius, Railroads, CNW Station Manlius, Illinois; Look[ing] NE; 8/16/49; Neg. No. 1252, Bureau, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Woodstock-Sycamore Traction Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Railroads, Interurban; Photo No. 11-102x; Engine No. 711; Road Woodstock Sycamore Traction; Remarks Builders Photo, To replace gas car, never used, Equipment, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, Engine No. 2986; Type 4-8-2; Road Illinois Central RR; Place Freeport, Ill Engine House; Date October 16, 1938; Photo No. 532, Stephenson, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Bridge, West Main Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Bridge, W. Main St; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1884; Elvin Wagner photo?, DeKalb, Place, Main Street, Economic Development