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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

DeKalb fence Co, Locust and 11th Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fense Co; Place Locust & 11th St, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1907; Rowley Photo, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Eleventh Street, Locust Street, Economic Development
Woman on steps by DeKalb Dairy Company Delivery Box, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb, Residential, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central] Engine No. 2417; Type 4-8-2; Freeport, IL; 6/15/41; Neg. No. 1802, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Elburn, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elburn, Railroads, C&NW Station, Elburn, Il; Aug 3, 1947, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
East Main, Three men on corner with dog, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Corner of Main [now Lincoln Highway] and 3rd Streets, DeKalb. [almost identical photo is identified], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Municipal Airport, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Municipal Airport; Place [East]Pleasant St, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Nov. 1948; Ritzman photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Arch over Main Street , DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Main Street from 3rd look[ing] West; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Aug. 21, 1891; Shoe factory Celebration; Oleson Original; Ritzman copy 1961, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, Belvidere, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Belvidere, Railroads, CNW Station, Belvidere, IL; Train to DeKalb; 1904; Rowley, Boone, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal School under Construction
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Normal School under Construction; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Approx 1897-1898, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Caledonia, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Caledonia, Railroads, Engine No. 22; Type 4-4-0; Class P1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Caladonia, Illinois; Train DeKalb (?); Date Approx. 1895; Photo No. 1-384x; Photo by: Copy by F.R. Ritzman; Neg. No. 2232, Boone, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Davey Glove Factory Workers, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title [Davey] Glove Factory Workers; Place DeKalb, Illinois; Copy [photo from] Ritzman, Orig. John Davy, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Economic Development
East Mill, American Steel and Wire
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title East Mill, Am Steel & Wire Co; Place Tenth St. & C&NW [tracks], DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1906; Rowley photo, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Tenth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 1651; Type 4-6-2; Class E; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Station; Train No. 26 Clinton Chicago Local; Date July 20, 1939; Photo No. 1-666; Neg No. 715, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 111; Engine No. 423; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern; Place DeKalb, Ill Enginehouse; Time 9:25 A; Date 1/18/34; Remarks Taken with 2A Brownies; Neg No. 332, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mount Morris, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mount Morris, Railroads, Mt. Morris, IL Station; CB&Q; Aug 6, 1950; Neg. No. 2482, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Golden Anniversary Homecoming Parade N.I.S.T.C; Place Lincoln Highway [at 1st Street, DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1949 [1948]; Chronicle photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, First Street, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Chicago and Northwestern, Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, Freeport, Illinois; 1894; Chicago & Northwestern Engine No. 501; Type 4-4-0, Stephenson, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Second Street from Grove look Northeast, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, South Second Street from Grove Looking Northeast, DeKalb, Illinois; 1937; Embree Lumber and Coal Yard at left., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-301; Engine No. 938; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill. Station; Train Making up Way Frt; Time 8:15 A; Date 5/24/35; Remarks Crowd waiting for Streamline; Neg No. 410, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific]Viaduct over Lincoln Highway; DeKalb [Illinois]; 1934, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Nelson, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Nelson, Railroads, CNW Station, Nelson, Illinois, 4/12/47, Lee, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Cantral Tracks, Charter Grove, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Charter Grove, Railroads, Illinois Central, Charter Grove, Ill; 6-60; Ritzman Photo; Neg. No. 2609, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Big Rock, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Big Rock, Railroads, Engine Twin Zepher; Type Diesel; Road Chicago Burlington and Quincy; Place West of Big Rock, Ill.; Train No.23 Afternoon Zepher; Date June 2, 1935; [4:50 P.M. in pencil]; Photo No. 215; Start of double Zepher service to Minneapolis; Neg. No. 1482, Kane, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago Great Western, Virgil, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Virgil, Railroads, CGW; Virgil, Ill. Station; Aug 3, 1947, Kane, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Creston, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Creston, Railroads, CNW; Creston, Illinois Station; Now not used. Operator transferred to crossing shanty; August 22, 1937; Neg. No. 1267, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development