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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

NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. Golden Anniversary Homecoming Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date 10/9/49 [1948]; Chronicle photo, DeKalb, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, South Ottawa, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, South Ottawa, Railroads, Road CB&Q; Place So. Ottawa, Ill. Station; Date Nov 11, 1952; Neg. No. 1511, LaSalle, Place, Economic Development
Wurlitzer Building, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Automobile is ca. mid-1920's, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Economic Development
First Baptist Church, Third and Prospect Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title First Baptist Church; Place 3rd & Prospect Streets, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1904; Rowley photo, DeKalb, Religious, Place, Third Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, La Fox Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, La Fox, Railroads, CNW; LaFox Station; Aug 3, 1947; Neg. No. 1265, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, CNW, DeKalb Station; 1896, Cook(?), DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Title Soldiers Leaving for Spanish American War; Place C&NW [Chicago & Northwestern] Station, DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date [1898]; Photo from R.B. Chandler. Original is a small card print., DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Marengo, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Marengo, Railroads, CNW Station Marengo, 6/21/46; Neg. No. 1231, McHenry, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Waterman, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Waterman, Railroads, 4/21/35; West of Waterman, IL; 63/100; Time 3 PM; CB&Q Twin Zepher, Diesel; Neg. No. 1481, DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Swedish Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Swedish Lutheran[Church]; Place 6th & Pine Streets, [DeKalb, Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898? [Note telephone poles, probably not a 1898 photo], DeKalb, Religious, Place, Pine Street, Sixth Street, Religion
Interior Office, Abram Ellwood Mfg Company
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, DeKalb, People, Place, Economic Development
Lincoln Highway from Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lincoln Highway from 4th St [looking west]; Place DeKalb; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 1, 1922; C.L. Gunn photo; Farm Bureau Decennial [10 year]Celebration., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Genoa, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Genoa, Railroads, Piers; Road Sycamore Woodstock Traction, Over CMStP&P [Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific] Tracks; Place Genoa, Ill; Date Nov 14, 1953, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, IC [Illinois Central] Engine No. 2421; Type 4-8-2; Freeport, IL; 6/15/41; Neg. No. 1804, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Back of Glidden House Hotel from Locust Street
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Back side of the Hotel DeKalb [formerly Glidden House, from Locust Street looking south toward Lincoln Highway], DeKalb, Illinois, 1943, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Locust Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Sterling, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sterling, Railroads, CNW Station Sterling; Apr 1950; C&NW FRR[itzman photo], Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Great Western Holcomb Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Holcomb, Railroads, Holcomb, CGW, Aug. 6, 1950, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-422; Engine No. 1547; Class E; Type 4-6-2; Road Chicago and North Western Ry; Place DeKalb station; Train No. 23; Time 5:25 P; Date 8/31/36; Remarks Note the raised numbers in front; Neg No. 576, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Bicycle Races at Fairgrounds
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Bicycle Races, Fairgrounds ([pre-]College Campus), Aug. 4, 1894. Photo taken before land was donated for NISNS in 1895., DeKalb, People, Place, Entertainment
Scene in front of City Hall, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Scene in front of City Hall; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb, Date 9/14/36; Remarks To show how cars parked on sidewalk; [West side of South 2nd Street], DeKalb, Place, Second Street, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Kasbeer, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kasbeer, Railroads, Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place Kasbeer, Ill. Station; Date July 5, 1952; Neg. No. 1493, Bureau, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Rochelle, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Rochelle, Railroads, Rochelle, C&NW under signal bridge, Interchange to 2 at right; Watchman tower; 1956; Ritzman photo; Neg. No. 2548, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Belvidere, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Belvidere, Railroads, Belvidere 1896; Train to DeKalb-Spring Valley; C&NW [Chicago & North Western]; Engine No. 82; Type 4-4-0; Hink(?) 1856, Reb. 1875, Scr(?) 1900, Boone, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Williston Hall
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Williston Hall, Northern Ill State Teachers College; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Jan. 1, 1940; Williston Hall was a Women's Dormitory, and opened in 1915. This view looks North, from west side of Adm. Bldg., DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Bird's eye view from Huntley park stand pipe look east, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Birds Eye View from Huntley Park Stand Pipe look east; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1928; Albert Wedberg photo (given to Embree) 1956; [other remarks in pencil] #4. DeKalb, Ill 1928, American steel to left and right, Nehring Electric works center; from Huntley park water tanks top, DeKalb, Industrial, Residential, Place, Economic Development