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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 Great Western, Sycamore, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, Engine No. 1007; Type Gas/Electric; Road Chicago Great Western; Place Sycamore, Ill Stn; Train No. 4; Date 1957; Ritzman Photo; Neg. No. 1594, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
East Main Street at Seventh Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title East Main Street [looking] West from 7th; Place DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Twp; DeKalb; Date Approx. 1912. Note Interurban tracks down middle of street., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb, Kaneville, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kaneville, Railroads, Interurban; Chicago, Aurora & DeKalb; Kaneville, IL; 1907?; Type 4-4-0; Engine No. 1 Steam, Kane, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, St. Charles, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, St. Charles, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place St. Charles, Ill; Date 1951; Neg. No. 1245, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Photo No. 1-459; Engine No. 487; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry.; Train In the 1st Calumet; Time 12:10P; Date 3/7/37; Remarks See photos: xx-1-457-8-1-460 and 1-303x-4x-5x; Neg. No. 360, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Rochelle, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rochelle, Railroads, Photo No. M63; Station; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Rochelle, Illinois; Date June 5, 1937; Neg. No. 1241, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Interior of DeKalb Post Office
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Interior U.S. Post Office; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1905?; Rowley photo, Look east, DeKalb, Government, Place, Economic Development
European Hotel
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, The European Hotel was located at 401 E. Main [now Lincoln Hwy] at 4th Street, DeKalb, and operated by George A. Schmall. In 1886 it was known as the DeKalb House Hotel., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Geographical Publishing Co, Pleasant Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Geographical Publishing Company, 1801 Pleasant Street, DeKalb, Illinois, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern North yard Belvidere, Illinois Engine house and Coal Chute
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Belvidere, Railroads, CNW; Engine house & coal chute; North yard, Belvidere, Il; March 28, 1937; Photo No. M46; Neg. No. 1288, Boone, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Earlville, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Earlville, Railroads, Look[ing] North; C&NW Watchman tower; Earlville; 8/16/49, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Second Street Signal Bridge
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW [Chicago Northwestern] Signal Bridge, 2nd St., DeKalb, IL; 1/15/1950; Neg. No. 2312, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. Golden Homecoming - Queen & Court; Place First & Lincoln [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948; L. to R; Janice Sanderson, Joan Hacket [Hackell] - Queen, Pat Stevens; Chronicle photo, DeKalb, People, Place, First Street, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
DeKalb County, Somonauk, Illinois Railroad Crossing
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Somonauk, Railroads, DeKalb County; Somonauk, Ill,[Station and] RR crossing; 14-19-16, DeKalb, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois, Tenth Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-480; Engine No. 2521; Class Ja; Type 2-8-2; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry.; Place DeKalb, Illinois Tenth St.; Adv:. 251; Train Roundup; Date May 30, 1937; Remarks Note tank car box extra water; Neg No. 187, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Tenth Street, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Parade N.I.S.T.C. 50th Homecoming; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Enginehouse
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-210x; Engine No. 14 & 1221; Class R & R1; Type 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Ill., Enginehouse; Date 6/28/35; Remarks Photo by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Engine No. 1396; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Station; Train No. 373 Spring Valley Freight; Date 1939; Photo by F.R. Ritzman, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Economic Development
Main Entrance, Northern Illinois State Normal School
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Main entrance, Northern Ill State Normal School; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1897-1898, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Bradt and Shipman Glove Co. Office Force by Porch
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Bradt & Shipman Office Force at the home at 3rd & Franklin, DeKalb, Illinois. Front Row: S.E. Bradt, Jim Parks, DeWitt Garveton; 2nd Row: Howace Griffith, C.E. Bradt; 3rd Row: Madison Shipman, E.O. Woods; Top Row; Henry Rolfe, Nellie Thompson Rolfe. Identifications from DeKalb Daily Chronicle Centennial Edition 6/8/1956, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Station, Sycamore, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, CNW Station, Sycamore, Il; May 30, 1950; Neg. No. 1200, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Polo, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Polo, Railroads, Polo, IL Station; CB&Q; Nov 1946; Neg. No. 1505, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb Works, 4th Street and Locust
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb Works (American Steel & Wire Company), 4th & Locust Streets; Main Office as it appeared Jan. 1, 1931; [photo taken] By Walter H. Wiard [Asst. Supt. AS&W]; Originally a Methodist Church, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Fourth Street, Locust Street, Economic Development
West Plant, Nehring Electric Works, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Title West Plant, Nehring Electrical Co. Works; Place N. 6th St. & C&NW Tracks, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 31, 1936; Ritzman photo. [Note the Owl Lunch Room/Tavern, 126 N. 6th St.], DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Industrial, Place, Sixth Street, Economic Development
Second Street (So) West side 100 Block, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, 100 Block, West Side, of South 2nd Street, DeKalb, Ill; Show[s] short antennas on City Hall; Date 5/23/52; Embree & Sons Lumber at 137 S. 2nd St., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Second Street, Economic Development