Making History in Central North America

Based on the world-renowned collections of the Newberry Library in Chicago, “Frontier to Heartland” offers access to historical primary sources, scholarly perspectives on the past, and resources to help you use the site.


Essays with a point of view

In words and pictures Perspectives explain how central North America came to be known as a "frontier" and then a "heartland." You can trace the history of the region over 400 years, consider the cultural power of images, or learn how to read historic maps.


Thematic collections of images

Galleries are a quick way to view a range of themes in Frontier to Heartland.  Each gallery presents eight related images and links to the image collection.

Browse Archive

Chicago Under the Mob

Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
When Frederic Remington wrote and illustrated this article about labor unrest in Chicago he was already a well-known for his images of western themes. The text describes Chicago's immigrant workers as…

Joe Hill's Funeral

In November 1915, thousands attended the Chicago funeral of songwriter Joe Hill, who was executed by firing squad in a Utah prison. According to his supporters in the Industrial Workers of the World…

Farmer planting corn near Creston, Iowa

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Although many had switched to motorized tractors by the late 1940s, this farmer in southwestern Iowa was still using horses.

Eighth Map to accompany Willard's History of the United States

Maverick, Samuel, 1789-1845
Maps such as these appeared in books for schoolchildren learning history and geography. Unlike earlier maps, this one presents the area west of the Appalachian Mountains as empty land.

Profile of Custer

The title page of Custer's memoir characterized it as "Being a Complete History of Indian Life, Warfare, and Adventure in America. Making Specially Prominent the Late Indian War, with Full…

Book binding from Henry Howe's The Great West

The binding of this volume depicts a frontiersman clearing land in the center, a family traveling by covered wagon at the top, and a farmer harvesting grain at the bottom. Together the three scenes…

Karte von Michigan

Farmer, John, 1798-1859
John Farmer became the premier cartographer of Michigan in the early nineteenth century, publishing his first map of the state in 1826. This 1834 map, published in German, indicates the location of a…

Anti-War Dance, 1918

Chicagoans organized many protests against American involvement in World War I, including this Anti-War Dance sponsored by the bohemian Dill Pickle Club. Critics of the war charged that large…
Four more random images