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

Mexican Vaquero

Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
Dodge wrote, "The American cowboy has a Mexican cousin, the vaquero, who does cow-punching in Chihuahua, and raises horses for the Mexican cavalry and occasional shipment across the Rio Grande. The…

Cover of Clason's Touring Atlas of the United States and Canada

Clason Map Company
Clason's Touring Atlas of the United States and Canada featured maps, tourist attractions, and "the best routes to the wonders of America." The Clason Map Co. also produced "Clason's Green Guides"…

Emigrants Crossing the Plains

A family traveling by covered wagon stops to cook a meal. In the background a line of wagons stretches to the horizon.

Don't Shop Downtown Until Willis Goes

Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Chicago activists distributed the "Stop! Don't Shop Downtown" flyer during a campaign to oust Chicago Public Schools superintendent Benjamin Willis. Activists charged Willis with supporting segregated…

Cleaning the Vista Dome Car

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
A worker empties trash from a rail road dining car, 1949. Two workers are visible inside the car. Most railroad work was racially segregated into the 1950s with African Americans largely restricted…

Death of Custer

Siegel, Cooper & Co.
Decades after Custer's death, Pawnee Bill (Gordon W. Lillie), like Buffalo Bill, found commercial success in reenacting a stylized vision of frontier victimization.

Meadowbrook Farms sign directing drivers

Higbie, Tobias
Meadowbrook Farms, formerly known as "American Heritage Farms," is a producer cooperative based in Rantoul, Illinois, that processes pork products for organic and specialty markets, especially in…

World Fashions Make Aurora a Style Center

Zak, Karel J.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the International Corset Company of Aurora, Illinois was a major manufacturer of foundation garments. During the 1920s it sponsored the International School of Scientific…
Four more random images