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

Lac Superieur et autres lieux ou sont les missions des peres de la Compagnie de Iesus, comprises sous le nom d'Outaouacs

Dablon, Claude
This map of the upper Great Lakes shows several Jesuit missions as well as American Indian communities.

For Pike's Peak Ho!

Central Overland, California and Pike's Peak Express Co.
As this advertisement explains, the trip from western Missouri to Denver took more than six days by stagecoach in the 1860s. The advent of rail travel would greatly speed transcontinental travel in…

Midway Plaisance looking west, 1893 World's Fair

Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
The Midway Plaisance offered amusements ranging from a replica "Street in Cairo" to carnival rides. The world's first Ferris Wheel, invented by George W. Ferris, was a popular Midway attraction. The…

College of Complexes curriculum, June 1963

Slim Brundage had been a bouncer at the Dill Pickle Club in the 1920s and the manager of a short-lived open forum known as the Knowledge Box in the 1930s. In the 1950s he opened his own club known as…

Mary MacLane

Nineteen-year-old Mary MacLane from Butte, Montana, may have been the original flapper. She wrote "I Await the Devil's Coming" and sent it to Chicago's Stone and Kimball Company. When it appeared in…

Charles A. Eastman

Also known by his Dakota name Ohiyesa, Eastman grew up with his grandmother and uncle in Manitobabut became a Christian at his father's urging. He attended Knox and Dartmouth Colleges, and received a…

E.F. Garry to Mr. Lane on Pullman Saving Plan

In the 1920s a growing number of large industrial employers developed welfare, recreation, and representation programs for their employees. This letter, between executives of the Pullman Company,…

Cover of Buffalo Bill With General Custer

Ingraham, Prentiss, 1843-1904
Prentiss Ingraham, a prolific dime novel writer, worked briefly as an advance agent for Buffalo Bill's show in the 1880s, and wrote hundreds of cheap popular novels about Buffalo Bill.
Four more random images