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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

Inspection Department Party, R. Wurlitzer Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Inspection Dept. Party, R. Wurlitzer Piano Co., Hopkins Park [Shelter House, DeKalb, Illinois], 1943. Ann Medine, Mabel Christensen, Helen Finette, Mrs. Thomas [pounding nails], & Judges [Chas] Cavanaugh and [C.A.] Busse, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Railroads, Type 4-6-0; Reg No. 363; No. 491; C&NW, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Lee, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Lee, Railroads, Road CB&Q RR; Place Lee, Ill. Station; Date July 16, 1949; Neg. No. 1496, Lee, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Title Group [at] C&NW [Chicago & Northwestern] Station, look west; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898; Photo from R.B. Chandler. Original is a small card print., DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Barbed Wire Spooler
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Barbed Wire, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, Buda, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Buda, Railroads, CBQ [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy] Station; Buda, IL; 8/16/49; Neg. No. 2341, Bureau, Place, Economic Development
American Steel and Wire, East Mill, Tenth and Chicago and Northwestern
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title American Steel & Wire Co, Tenth & C&NW [tracks]; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date ca. 1910; Rowley photo, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Tenth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW; Type 4-6-4; Engine No. 4001; DeKalb, Illinois; 1938-1941, January 1941; Neg No. 2263, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Sterling, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sterling, Railroads, CB&Q Caboose; Sterling, IL; April 1950; Neg. No. 2492, Whiteside, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 126; Type 4-4-2; Class D; Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Station [from 6th St]; Train No. 25 Chicago-Clinton Local; Date June 21, 1938; Photo No. 1-548; Neg No. 258, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
First Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, on back of postcard: "First Lutheran Church, Third and Pine, DeKalb, Ill"; Note: This church building was built in 1916, the address is 330 N. Third Street, and at that time was called the First Evangelical Lutheran Church., DeKalb, Residential, Place, Pine Street, Third Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M15x; Road Chicago and North Western; Place DeKalb Yards looking west from [top of] coal chutes. Note engines 2057 at left and 1491 and 446 on right; Date 7/25/36; FRR[itzman photo], DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Rockford, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rockford, Railroads, Photo No. 199X; Engine Pioneer Replica; Type 4-2-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern; Place Rockford, Ill; Train Work; Date 1862; Remarks Copy of Picture in Rockford Library, Winnebago, Industrial, Equipment, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M16x; Road Chicago and North Western Ry; Place DeKalb Yards looking east from [top of] coal chutes; Date 7/25/36; Remarks Note the Milwaukee [Railroad]viaduct; F.R.R., DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Office Personel Abram Ellwood Mfg. Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Office Personel, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant St (Office), DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897-1898; Belle Hobbs (Embree) seated [on steps], DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 659; Type 4-6-2; Class Es; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place DeKalb Station [at 7th St. crossing]; Train 26; Date July 1, 1954; Note Train 112; Neg No. 548, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Seventh Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Rockford Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rockford, Railroads, 0-6-0; Photo No. 1-393; Engine No. 2053; Road C&NW; Place Rockford Enginehouse; Date 3/14/36; Time 3 PM; Neg. No. 19, Winnebago, Industrial, Place, Economic Development
Hooppole, Yorktown and Tampico, Tampico, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Tampico, Railroads, Road Hooppole, Yorktown & Tampico; Place Tampico,[Ill] Station; Date 1929; Ritzman Photo, Whiteside, Place, Economic Development
Rudolph Wurlitzer Factory, Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Rudolph Wurlitzer [Factory]; Place Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Nov. 19, 1956, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Sperry Rail Service, DeKalb, Illinois Third Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. C7x; Engine No. 114; Class 3 unit; Type Rail test car; Road Sperry Rail Service; Place DeKalb, Ill., [at south] 3rd Street; Time 6:00 AM; Date 4/27/36; Remarks Used in rail testing at DeKalb; FR R[itzman photo], DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
NISNS Tennis Club
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.N.S. Tennis Club; Place N.I.S.N.S. Field, DeKalb; Date ca. 1906-1907 [photo in 1907 NORTHER yearbook]; Note Grandstand in rear; [tall] man in back row, middle right, with cap - Swen F. Parson, 3rd man in second row, with derby - Fred Charles., DeKalb, Educational, People, Place, Education, Entertainment
Rice Hotel, DeKalb
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, The Rice Hotel was located at 154 North Third Street at the corner of Locust, DeKalb, Illinois. Photo ca. 1950, purchased from Lehan Drug Store, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
Trinity Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Trinity Lutheran Church; Place Ninth & Grove Streets, DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date March 25, 1937; Remarks This building moved from Malta about 1900., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Ninth Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois, East Lincoln crossing
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. M18x; Engine No. 1491 with 423; Type 1491 2-8-0, (423) 2-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, E. Lincoln [Highway] crossing. Royalty flagman; Train 378; Date 7/31/36; Remarks No. 1491 - 423 headed south on 378. [Rauworth Bar B Q, and Marquardt Company, located at E. Lincoln and Dodge Ave], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development