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

UPI Press wire demonstration at the Chicago Sun-Times regarding editorial “Now that the March is Over,” August 29, 1963

While returning to Chicago by train from the 1963 March on Washington, some civil rights activists read a Sun-Times editorial critical of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders. As this newswire…

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…

Cover to What Every Girl Should Know

Sanger, Margaret
The pamphlet What Every Girl Should Know is a compilation of Sanger's early articles on birth control. Sanger had been prosecuted for transmitting "obscene" materials through the mail. By the 1920s,…

Agriculture section, Aurora Beacon-News Centennial Edition

In 1937 the Aurora Beacon-News commemorated the centennial of Aurora, Illinois, 40 miles west of Chicago. The cover of the agricultural section represented Aurora as a trading center at the heart of…

Railroad building on the Great Plains

Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891
Workers lay new rails across the northern Great Plains as a group of covered wagons waits to continue its trip. Appearing in the popular magazine _Harper's Weekly_ in 1875 this picture suggests the…

War Party Coming Home

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…

Cover of program for Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World

A program from Cody's Wild West Show at the World's Columbian Exposition. These dramatic open air performances highlighted the horse riding and shooting skills of Euro-American and American Indian…

Hogan'-Lu'Ta (Red Fish), “Custer as a White Man”

Hogan'-Lu'Ta (Red Fish)
Painting on paper by the Native American artist Red Fish. The hand written caption, believed to be by Aaron McGaffey Beede who commissioned the work, reads "Custer as a white man/made by Red…
Four more random images