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

Cover of “Wild West Galop for Piano”

D. Emerson
William Cody's Wild West Shows inspired this piece of piano music from the late 1880s.

Oak Park Farm

Heisler, E. F.
In the late 19th century prosperous farmers like Henry Coppock of Johnson County in eastern Kansas often paid to have elaborate engravings of their properties placed in county atlases. In this case,…

There Ought to Be School for the Instruction of Women Voters

McCutcheon, John T. (John Tinney), 1870-1949
This cartoon appeared in the _Chicago Tribune_ five days after the Illinois House of Representatives approved women's suffrage in Illinois.

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…

Canadian Mounted Police

Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
One in a series of drawings by Frederic Remington depicting different Western types.

Fishing Lakes, Qu' Appelle River

Hind, Henry Youle, 1823-1908
Henry Youle Hind, a chemistry and geology professor at Toronto's Trinity College, led an expedition that explored the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in southern Manitoba and the Qu'Appelle River in…

Fur trade contract, 1692

Francoeur, François
Fur trade contract, dated Sept. 15, 1692 in Ville-Marie, Québec, concerning transport of merchandise to Michilimackinac and Chicago to be traded for beaver pelts. The contract describes an agreement…

Dubuque in Iowa

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
A long time site of lead mining, in the 1840s Dubuque was a commercial center along the upper Mississippi River. Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the upper Mississippi River…
Four more random images