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

Sanitary Drinking Cup, Socialist Party Presidential Campaign of 1912

A re-usable drinking cup with the pictures of 1912 Socialist Party candidates for President and Vice President of the U.S. Eugene V. Debs ran for President five times between 1900 and 1920, the last…

The Massacre of United States Troops by the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians Near Fort Philip Kearney, Dakotah Territory, December 22nd, 1866

In 1866 U. S. soldiers sought to defend three recently built forts protecting the Bozeman Trail leading to the gold fields of Montana. Lieutenant Colonel W. J. Fetterman led eighty men against the…

Cleaning the “Vistadome” Car

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Railroad work in the U.S. was segregated by race well into the 1950s. African Americans held jobs for car cleaners, maids, and porters, but rarely worked as conductors or engineers. Here an African…

Plain Crees driving buffaloes into a pound

This illustration accompanies Henry Hind's description of how Cree Indians captured buffalo for slaughter. In the distance a circular "pound" or corral is visible.

Front View of the American Fur Company Buildings, Fond du Lac

Thomas McKenney accompanied Lewis Cass, the governor of the Michigan Territory, to the far west of Lake Superior during the summer of 1826 to meet with American Indian leaders and search for the…

Front cover of program for Buffalo Bill and Captain Jack in Life on the Border

A playbill from the five act play entitled, _Life on The Border_ performed at the Dietz Opera House in Oakland, California, on Wednesday, June 13, 1877. Buffalo Bill Cody and Captain Jack Crawford…

Bridge building near the Illinois and Michigan Canal

United States Army Corps of Engineers
A view of a steel railroad bridge under construction in northern Illinois. The steel frame has been built within an older stone bridge visible along the right side of the image. A dredging boat is…

Major General Frederick Middleton

Major General Frederick Middleton led the Canadian forces against the Northwest Rebellion led by Louis Riel. Middleton was a long-serving officer in the British imperial armed forces. He he served…
Four more random images