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

Woman with child in Union Station

Esther Bubley
A woman and child sit in the waiting room of Chicago's Union Station, 1948.

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…

Canadiska Västern: den Sista Bästa Västern

Canada. Department of Interior.
A young man wipes his brow as if resting from hard work. In the background, symbols of agriculture and industry stretch out toward a distant mountain range. During the early 20th century, the…

The Capture of Batoche

Batoche in Saskatchewan was the capital of the Métis provisional government during the 1885 Riel Rebellion. The Canadian government defeated the rebellion in the Battle of Batoche.

Emigrant Party on the Road to California

Hearing about the discovery of gold in California, many people headed westward along the Oregon-California Trail.

Residence of Ira A. Warren, Emmett Township, Calhoun County, Michigan

Pierce, H. B.
Ira and Susan Warren resided in Calhoun, County, Michigan, near the city of Battle Creek. They likely paid in advance for a copy of the History of Calhoun County, receiving in exchange a biographic…

Boy separating cream at the Rader Farm, Knoxville, Illinois

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Children of farm families were expected to help out with farm work from a young age. Here one of the sons of the farmer Scott Rader uses a machine to separate cream from raw milk. Behind him sits a…

Items for Passengers Going Across the Continent

A page from the guidebook "How to Go West" details the prices for passengers and freight traveling across North America in the early 1870s. Sleeping cars were reserved for 1st class passengers only. …
Four more random images