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

Portrait of Henry Belland, “the Voyageur”

Mayer, Frank Blackwell, 1827-1899
Frank Blackwell Mayer was a Baltimore artist who traveled independently in 1851 to Minnesota to observe and sketch the Sioux Indians present at treaty negotiations at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota.…

The Liberty Belle: She's Cracked

A woman dressed in flapper fashion delivers a speech from a soapbox. She points to a sign reading "Liberate the Libido," a reference to the growing popularity of the work of Austrian psychoanalyst…

Prairie Church Parade of General Middleton's Command

This image portrays the Canadian soldiers dispatched to put down the Riel Rebellion as orderly and well-disciplined. It is likely that the illustrator sought to contrast the largely Protestant…

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.

City of Industry, Hamilton, Ontario, 2007

Walsh, Chris P.
A steel mill releases smoke and flames into the sky above Hamilton, Ontario. A working class neighborhood is visible in the foreground bordering the industrial plant. Since the late 19th century…

Portrait of Jack Jones, 1919

Szukalski, Stanislaus
A portrait of Jack Jones by Polish immigrant artist Stanislaus Szukalski. A Canadian by birth, and a one-time labor organizer, Jones managed the Dill Pickle Club in Chicago from 1914 to 1931. His…

Fur trade contract, 1721

Liette, Pierre de, d. 1721
Signed contract, dated June 5, 1721 in Villemarie [Ile de Montréal, Québec], between Gilles Chauvin, Pierre Hubert Lacroix (and by proxy, Jacques Hubert Lacroix), associates of the Compagnies des…

The Garment Workers' Strike

In 1910 and 1915, tens of thousands of Chicago garment workers, many of them young immigrant women, took to the streets to protest their working conditions. Many of the female leaders of the strike…
Four more random images