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

World Fashions Make Aurora a Style Center

Zak, Karel J.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the International Corset Company of Aurora, Illinois was a major manufacturer of foundation garments. During the 1920s it sponsored the International School of Scientific…

J. W. Noseworthy and his class at the Hollinger Mine

A group of immigrant miners learns English in a “Frontier College” classroom. During the early 20th century, Canadian mining, timber, and railroad companies recruited thousands of young men from…

Across the Continent

Currier, Charles, 1818-1887
Frances Palmer, who migrated from her native England to the United States in 1842 at the age of 30, was an artist who created some of the most popular lithographs sold by the Currier and Ives…

Milking time at the Rader farm, Knoxville, Illinois

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Leroy Rader milks a cow on his family farm near Knoxville, Illinois, 1948. Even in the 20th century, children's work was an important part of successful farming.

Scene of Destruction and Pillage in the Panhandle Yards

Chicago was relatively peaceful during the early weeks of the American Railway Union's boycott of Pullman sleeping cars. Major violence erupted only after a federal court ordered the arrest of Eugene…

St. Patrick's Costume Ball

This flyer from Chicago's Dill Pickle Club announces a costume ball on St. Patrick's Day, 1925. Oral histories suggest that masquerade balls at this and other clubs were an important part of the…

Route of the Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake

Seeking to escape harassment, Mormons left their embattled settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846, reaching their destination in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake a year later.

Sherwood Anderson, “Jack Jones—The Pickler.”

Sherwood Anderson
In this article from the Chicago _Daily News_, the novelist Sherwood Anderson describes the diverse audience at the Dill Pickle Club: "The street car conductor sits on a bench beside the college…
Four more random images