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

Photograph of Margery Currey Dell

Margery Currey Dell and her husband Floyd Dell were part of a social network of writers, journalists and artists who comprised the literary movement known as the Chicago Renaissance.

Theodore Roosevelt to Edith Wyatt

Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Despite mixed feelings, Theodore Roosevelt officially supported women's suffrage in his 1912 presidential campaign. His discomfort with the subject is evident in a letter he wrote in reply to Chicago…

Chicago's Interracial Debating Classic, January 25, 1931

Before the advent of television, lectures and debates provided public entertainment. Social activists used these venues to present their ideas and to educate their constituencies. This flyer promotes…

Mittal Steel, Riverdale, Illinois

Higbie, Tobias
A modern steel "minimill" about 30 miles south of downtown Chicago. A U.S. flag appears prominently on one side of the mill. Situated on the Calumet River, this facility was built by Acme Steel in…

Chicago lakefront

United States Army Corps of Engineers
This image was taken from an elevated position on the west side of Michigan Avenue overlooking Grant Park in Chicago. Docked along the shore are ferries to the World's Fair several miles to the south.…

Earth flags and Golden Arches

Koslow, Jennifer
Police cordon surround an antiwar march, March 2004, Chicago. The Earth flags carried by protesters and the corporate advertising in the background are contrasting symbols of globalization.

The Massacre of United States Troops by the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians Near Fort Philip Kearney, Dakotah Territory, December 22nd, 1866

In 1866 U. S. soldiers sought to defend three recently built forts protecting the Bozeman Trail leading to the gold fields of Montana. Lieutenant Colonel W. J. Fetterman led eighty men against the…

Eighth Map to accompany Willard's History of the United States

Maverick, Samuel, 1789-1845
Maps such as these appeared in books for schoolchildren learning history and geography. Unlike earlier maps, this one presents the area west of the Appalachian Mountains as empty land.
Four more random images