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

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…

Motel in West Des Moines, Iowa

Higbie, Tobias
In the 1980s and 1990s a growing number of businesses and organizations adopted the term "heartland" as part of their corporate identity. The Heartland Inn, a motel chain centered in Iowa, opened its…

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…

Schauplatz des Kriegs zwischen Engelland und seinen Collonien in America, 1776

Jaeger, Johann Christian
This map of the "Arena of the War between England and her Colonies in America" was published in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1776, at the beginning of that war. The names of American Indian tribes are…

The Grand Council

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
American Indians gather along a river in conference. Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the upper Mississippi River between 1846 and 1848. He compiled them into a panoramic…

Nauvoe, Illinois

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Mormons fleeing persecution in New York State and then Missouri settled in Nauvoo after 1832, building it up to one of the largest cities in Illinois by the mid-1840s. In 1846 other Illinois residents…

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…

Color satellite photo of the Great Lakes

Leshkevich, G.
In satellite imagery, the Great Lakes dominate the landscape of central North America, uninterrupted by the political boundaries between the U.S. and Canada, or between states and provinces.
Four more random images