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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 Railroad, Galena, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, Galena, IL Station; CB&Q; Neg. No. 2478, Jo Daviess, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb, Kaneville, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kaneville, Railroads, Interurban; Chicago, Aurora & DeKalb; Kaneville, IL; Engine No. 22; Photo No. 1165x, Kane, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Hooppole, Tampico and Yorktown, 2 miles East Yorktown, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Yorktown, Railroads, Road Hoopole, Tampico & Yorktown; Place 2 miles East [of] Yorktown [Illinois]; Track; Date July 5, 1952; Ritzman Photo, Bureau, Residential, Place, Economic Development
Swen Parson Library at end of College Ave.
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title College Ave; Place N.I.S.T.C. Campus [DeKalb, Ill]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 8/30/52; Look WNW, Swen Parson Library in back ground. [The library was completed, but not occupied until December 1952.], DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Tabernacle, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Tabernacle; Place South 3rd Street, 300 Block, DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1907 [also in pencil 1906]; Original by Rowley. Union Evangelical Meeting banner on side of building., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Third Street, Religion
Massed Bands, 50th Homecoming
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Massed Bands - 50th Homecoming, N.I.S.T.C.; Place Football Field; County DeKalb; Twp; DeKalb; Date Oct. 9, 1948; Normal University Woman's Band at right., DeKalb, People, Place, Education
American Steel and Wire, West Works
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, American Steel & Wire Company, West Works(Red Shop), taken from 6th and Locust looking West; DeKalb, Illinois, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Industrial, Place, Locust Street, Sixth Street, Economic Development
St. Mary's Hospital
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title St. Mary Hospital; Place Fisk at 2nd St, DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1939, DeKalb, Medical, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad crosses Chicago, Burlingham and Quincy and Galena Railway, Galena, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, Galena, IC [Illinois Central] crosses CB&Q [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy] and Gal[ena] R[oad]; Neg. No. 2498, Jo Daviess, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Nelson, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Nelson, Railroads, CMSTP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific] Station, Nelson [Illinois]; April 1950, Lee, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, Holcomb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Holcomb, Railroads, CBQ [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy] Station; Holcomb, IL; Aug. 6, 1950; Neg. No. 2342, Ogle, Place, Economic Development
Webb Fire Truck, City Hall and Police Patrol, South 2nd Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Webb Fire Truck & Police Patrol; Place in front [of] City Hall, So. 2nd St., DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Spring 1913/Fall 1912; Standing: Price on truck; Seated on fire truck: Wall, McEvoy; Seated Patrol Wagon: ; Standing Jim Scott; On Fire Wagon: ; Copy from Rolfe by Ritzman. In Chamber of Commerce Book, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Second Street, Economic Development, Law and Society
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Aurora, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Aurora, Railroads, CB&Q Engine #9123; Switch Diesel; Aurora, Ill; 8/8/37; Neg. No. 1476; [Note "Love Bros. Inc. Iron Works" building in distance], Kane, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Fox Lake, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Fox Lake, Railroads, Engine No. 1133; Type 4-6-0; Class G6cs; Road Milwaukee (CMStP&P = Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific); Place Fox Lake, Illinois; Date 1939; Photo No. 646x; Photo by F.R. Ritzman, Lake, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Engine No. 1654; Type 4-6-2; Class E; President Harding Funeral Train; Malta, Illinois; Neg No. 2262; Page 285, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Station No. 4, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Department; Place Fire Station #1, No 4th [Street], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Copy by F.R. Ritzman, Original from Margaret Powers, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Interior Office, Abram Ellwood Mfg Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior Office, Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co; Place Pleasant St., DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897-1898; Belle Hobbs (Embree) Secretary, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
NISTC, Science Building on Left, Administration Building on Right
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Teachers College; Place DeKalb[Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1944; Showing Science [later renamed Davis, at left] & Administration [renamed Altgeld] buildings; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Melville Clark Piano Co, before additions, Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Melville Clark Piano Co; Place Pleasant St., DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1904; Photo from F.A. Rowley Negative, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Interurban, Aurora, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Aurora, Railroads, Interurban; Aurora Street Cars; This shows the old open car; May 30, 1916, Kane, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal School, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Ill State Normal School; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp; DeKalb; Date 1897? [Original is a card print], DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago Great Western, Wasco, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Wasco, Railroads, CGW, Wasco, Ill. Station; Aug. 12, 1956; Neg. No. 2517, Kane, Place, 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. 2344, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
Lincoln Highway Curb Repair, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lincoln Highway looking east from 3rd St; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1914; Ritzman Photo, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Kishwaukee Bridge
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 701; Type 4-4-0; Class A4; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill. Kishwaukee [River] Bridge; Photo No. 1-378x; Photo by C.I. Dickerman, DeKalb. This is a copy by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development