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

Corn planting near Friend, [Nebraska]

Bubley, Esther
Two farmers planting with a tractor in eastern Nebraska. Photographer Esther Bubley and her colleague Russell Lee documented daily life along the route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad…

Main Gate to Works, Pullman

Workers leave the Pullman Palace Car Works, 1893. This picture appeared in a promotional booklet celebrating the paternalistic labor policies of George Pullman. A year later Pullman's workers were at…

Frontispiece to The Poet Scout: A Book of Song and Story

Crawford, Jack, 1847-1917
Jack W. Crawford (1847-1917), known as "Captain Jack, the Poet Scout," published his first book of poetry in 1879, republished in subsequent editions. Crawford's poetry recounts tales of his…

Memorial Image of Louis Riel

A memorial to Metis leader Louis Riel who was executed by Canadian authorities on the charges of murder and treason. The imagery of cabins and a teepee suggests the close relationship between the…

Plan de Missilimakinak avec la description de la route du Missisipi

The upper right quadrant of the image details the Straits of Mackinac region, including the fort and Indian village at Saint Ignace and the fort established across the Straits at latter-day Mackinaw…

Scott Rader Farm near Knoxville, Illinois

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Scott Rader's four children walk behind a small herd of cattle.

Lumber docks, Chicago River

United States Army Corps of Engineers
Children watch the photographer as a tugboat pulls a ship through the Chicago River. To the left workers unload lumber from a ship.

View North From Colonnade, 1893 World's Fair

Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
A leading photographer of the American West, Jackson made the official set of views for the Exposition.
Four more random images