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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 and Northwestern
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-493; Engine No. 2500; Class J; Type 2-8-2; Road C&NW; Place DeKalb, Ill. 3rd St.; Neg No. 172, DeKalb, Industrial, Equipment, Place, Third Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Algonquin, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Algonquin, Railroads, C&NW; Engine No. 131; Type 4-6-0; Algonquin, Il.; Date 1901; Schen. 1900 No. 5331; Scr. 1935; F.R. Ritzman photo; Photo No. 1-419x, McHenry, Equipment, Economic Development
St. Mary's Church, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title St. Mary's Church (Catholic); Place Fourth and Pine Streets, DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Date 1910 Approx; Remarks No evidence to true date; Original by F.A. Rowley; Original owned/from collection of Waite W. Embree, DeKalb, Illinois. Note: The Church was built in 1901, and the Rectory [at left] completed in 1904., DeKalb, Religious, Place, Fourth Street, Pine Street, Religion
Chicago and Northwestern, Elburn, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elburn, Railroads, CNW; 12/23/45; Station Elburn, Illinois, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. 50th Anniversary Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
Northern Illinois State Nornal School and Plank Walkway
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Normal School; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1899, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Wabash Railway, Streator, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Streator, Railroads, Photo No. 1006x; Enginge No. 859; Class 2-6-0; Type F7; Road Wabash Ry; Place Streator, Illinois; Train Way Freight; Time P.M.; Date 1939; Remarks F.R. Ritzman photo, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
West Main Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title West Main [looking] East from Normal[Road]; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1899; Ritzman Copy, Rolfe Original. Note Main Street is now known as Lincoln Highway., DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Main Street, Economic Development
Bristow at Bat, Fairgrounds
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fair grounds (N.I.U. Campus); Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date Aug. 8, 1894; Original from Tyrell; Bristow at Bat. Photo taken before land was even donated for NISNS in 1895., DeKalb, People, Place, Entertainment
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Shabbona, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Shabbona, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; Place Shabbona, Illinois; Date March 17, 1939; Photo No. M104; Neg. No. 1508, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Elmhurst, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Elmhurst, Railroads, Photo No. 173x; Engine No. 493; Class D; Type 4-4-2; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place Elmhurst, Ill; Date Aug. 1934; Remarks F.R. Ritzman photo, DuPage, Equipment, Economic Development
Northern Illinois State Normal School under Construction
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Northern Illinois State Normal School building under construction, ca. 1899. In October 1963 the building was renamed Altgeld Hall. Print made from a glass plate negative, DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago and Northwestern, Malta, Illinois Building Passenger Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, CNW Building Passenger Station; Malta, Illinois; May 30, 1935, 5:30 pm; Photo No. M9; Neg. No. 1290, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Harvard, Illinois Yards
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Harvard, Railroads, Engine No. 595; Type 4-6-0; Class R1; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Harvard, Illinois Yards; Date August 25, 1938; Photo No. 1-560; Note small tender, Illustration is the original; Neg No. 371, McHenry, Equipment, Economic Development
DeKalb Wagon Company, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Wagon Co; Place *Gurler St, DeKalb; County DeKalb, Twp DeKalb; Date Aug. 17, 1941. DeKalb Wagon Company[later DeKalb Commercial Body], was located at 229 W.*Garden Street[not Gurler]., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mendota, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mendota, Railroads, CB&Q; Mendota 1918; Engines, LaSalle, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Lincoln Highway from Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Lincoln Highway from 4th St; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date July 1, 1922; C.L. gunn photo; Farm Bureau 10th Anniversary Decorations, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
NISTC Science Building, Dedication
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Northern Illinois State Teachers College, Science Building Dedication; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp; DeKalb; Date 6/11/1943. View looking southwest., DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Tampico, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Tampico, Railroads, Station; Road Chgo, Burlington & Quincy; Place Tampico, Ill; Date July 5, 1952; Neg. No. 1513, Whiteside, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Caledonia, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Caledonia, Railroads, Station; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place Caledonia, Illinois; Date April 23, 1939; Photo No. M107; Neg. No. 1209, Boone, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. - 50th Homecoming Parade; Place Lincoln Highway, DeKalb [Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
NISTC Golden Anniversary Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title N.I.S.T.C. Homecoming (50) Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 9, 1948, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, People, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development, Entertainment
M. D. Wells Shoe Factory, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title [M.D.] Wells Shoe Factory; Place Leonard and Garden [Streets], DeKalb, Illinois; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date ca. 1899; Look[ing] East; Rowley [photograph], DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Economic Development
Science Building, in Snow
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Science Building, N.I.S.T.C.; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Ritzman Photo. The Science Building opened June 1943, and was renamed Davis Hall as of January 1965 ., DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Illinois Central, Galena, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Galena, Railroads, I.C. [Illinois Central] Engine; Type 2-4-0; Wood Burner; Galena, IL; 1853; Neg. No. 2546; [Note copy print given to Waite Embree by Marriott Price], Jo Daviess, Equipment, Place, Economic Development