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

Memorandum regarding the Till murder trial, September 13, 1955, Chicago Sun-Times.

While visiting his relatives in Mississippi during the summer of 1955, fourteen-year old Chicagoan Emmett Till was lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Till's mother insisted on bringing…

White Scout

From a Cheyenne ledger book, probably illustrated between 1877 and 1879, containing drawings by Black Horse and other Cheyenne warrior artists of scenes of warfare, hunting, and courtship. The Black…

Pioneers Entering Kentucky

This drawing appeared in an account of Daniel Boone's early settlement in Kentucky that emphasized the hostility of American Indians to the newcomers.

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.

The Liberty Belle: She's Cracked

A woman dressed in flapper fashion delivers a speech from a soapbox. She points to a sign reading "Liberate the Libido," a reference to the growing popularity of the work of Austrian psychoanalyst…

Chicago Magazine, The West As It Is

This magazine cover shows an American Indian watching a locomotive pulling into Chicago as the sun rises over Lake Michigan.

Woman with child in Union Station

Esther Bubley
A woman and child sit in the waiting room of Chicago's Union Station, 1948.

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in 1830

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the upper Mississippi River between 1846 and 1848. He compiled them into a panoramic painting nearly half a mile in length, which was a popular…
Four more random images