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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

Copy of appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Haish from Methodist Episcopal Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, "We are Laborers together with God. First Corinthians 3:9. On behalf of the members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of DeKalb and of the citizens of this community, we the Official Board of this Church, hereby express to Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Haish our appreciation of the very generous manner in which they have co-operated in the building of our new house of worship. May earth's choicest blessing attend them, and may we enjoy their companionship for years to come. Dated September 29, 1909. Trustees. Frank W. Ray, Pres., S.F. Parson, Sec., Girard Hammond, M.D. Shipman, G.L. Oakland, J.M. Piper, G.H. Salisbury, S.E. Bradt, Andrew Bradt; Stewards. R.P. Culver, P.N. Joslin, Gabriel W. Jacobson, E.S. Hurd, F.L. Terwilliger, Clifford S. Hunt, John T. Bowles, E.O. Wood, Edward C. Page, D.E. Moon, W.S. Voust, C.E. Bradt, S.W. Patten", DeKalb, Religious, People, Religion
NISNS Gate at Main Street (Lincoln Highway)
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Gate at Main Street [Lincoln Hwy], Entrance Northern Ill State Normal School; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb. [photo dates between 1911 when McMurry(seen at end of road at right)was built and 1921 when the school changed its name to Northern Illinois State Teachers College], DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
DeKalb Dairy Company, Delivery Wagon
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Dairy Company, Dairy Delivery Wagon; Place East Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Man [by wagon]is Will Norton. Picture from Charles Raymond. Note Fire Wagon in background., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Station (Passenger and Freight Station), Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, CNW Station (Passenger & Freight Station) Freeport, IL; Note: Chicago and Northwestern and Illinois Central use passenger station jointly; Apr 14, 1950; Neg. No. 2259, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
NISTC Administration Building
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Ill State Teachers College Adm. Build.; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date May 21, 1922, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Sycamore Road, North of Ninth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Sycamore Road; Place North of 9th St, DeKalb [Illinois]; Date 1908, DeKalb, People, Place, Sycamore Road, Economic Development
Lincoln Higway from Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lincoln Highway from 4th [Street]; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 1, 1922; Photo by C.L. Gunn; Farm Bureau 10th Anniversary Decorations, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Float NISTC Homecoming Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Float [Northern Illinois State Teachers College] Homecoming Parade; Place E. Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct 1952, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Entertainment
Swedish Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Swedish Lutheran Church; Place [North] 6th & Pine, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1866?; Copied from Swedish Lutheran Yearbook 1875. In pencil, "Swedish Lutheran built 1866, used 1866-1878.", DeKalb, Religious, Place, Pine Street, Sixth Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, Huntley, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Huntley, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place Huntley, Illinois; Date 5/1/60; Neg. No. 1264, McHenry, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Aurora, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Aurora, Railroads, Photo No. 227; Engine No. 3012; Class S4; Type 4-6-4; Road CB&Q; Place Aurora, Ill. Station; Train No. 44 Empire Builder; Date 8/8/37; Remarks Built by CB&Q; Neg. No. 1464, Kane, Equipment, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal School under construction
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, The first building constructed for the Northern Illinois State Normal School. It opened for classes in September 1899. When other buildings were constructed it was known as the "Administration Building" or the "Castle." In October 1963 it was officially named Altgeld Hall., DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern, Carpentersville, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Carpentersville, Railroads, 1949 C&NW Station, Carpentersville, Il; Neg. No. 1225, Cook, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Genoa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Genoa, Railroads, Engine No. 4019; Type Diesel; Road Illinois Central; Place Genoa, Ill; Train 14; Land' O Corn; Date Nov. 14, 1953; Neg. No. 1821, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW tracks in DeKalb, looking SW toward intersection of Lincoln Highway and 4th St., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
DeKalb Sycamore Electric Co,
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Sycamore Electric Company; Place 3rd & C&NW [RR tracks], So 3 corner, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1906; Rowley photo; [City Directory lists address as 3rd and Grove], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal school Campus
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Normal School Campus, looking North from Kishwaukee [River]; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1900; Rowley photo, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Employees of Abram Ellwood Mfg Company, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Employees of Abram Ellwod Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant St, DeKalb [Ill]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898; Belle Embree in window [was] missing (first time), newly installed flag, occasion Spanish-American War, 1898., DeKalb, Industrial, People, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Dept personel in 1888
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Dept; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1888; Photo from Franz Parks; from front of photo: "When the Fire Alarm sounded each man left his work and ran to the fire barn and helped pull the hose to the fire. The first person who arrived on the scene with horse was paid for helping get the apparatus to the fire. Top Row: Capt. Bill Miller, Judge W.L. Pond, Frank Carter, Mike Hanrahan, Horace Merrill, George Bristow; Middle Row: James Parks, Ike Shoop, Will Hamilton, Percy Garner, Chas Anderson, Henry Rolfe; Bottom Row: T.D. Garretson, Chas. Garner, Byron Howland.", DeKalb, People, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Gilberts, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Gilberts, Railroads, Gilberts, Ill., Station C&NW; 10/5/1935; Photo No. M15; Neg. No. 1242, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Abram Elwood Mfg. Co., Engine Room
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Original is a small card print, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Elgin, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elgin, Railroads, C&NW; No. 899; Class R1; Elgin; 1945; Type 4-6-0, Kane, Cook, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, DeKalb, Illinois Second Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 367; Type Diesel Switch; Class S22; Road Chciago, Rock Island & Pacific; Place DeKalb, Illinois [South] Second St; Train Extra 367; Date June 8, 1940; Photo No. 406; [Note] Built by Whitcomb, Rochelle, and sent to DeKalb to be weighed; Neg. No. 1699, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central] Engine No. 2955; Type 2-10-2; Freeport, IL; 6/15/41; Neg. No. 1780, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Station, Troy Grove, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Troy Grove, Railroads, CNW Station, Troy Grove, Illinois; Date 10/23/38; Photo No. M98; Neg. No. 1207, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development