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

Title page and annotated flyleaf to Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties, Iowa

In the late nineteenth century publishers compiled histories and biographical dictionaries for counties throughout the Midwest. Residents often paid for their biographies to be included. In this copy…

Buffalo Bill's Duel With Yellow Hand

Buffalo Bill interrupted his stage career in 1876 to become an army scout. He took the scalp of a Cheyenne warrior, Yellow Hair, whose name was mistranslated as Yellow Hand. Cody incorporated this…

Capitalism, Humanity, Government

Man Ray
Chicago's anarchist community participated in a national and international debate about the nature of state power in modern society. This cover of Emma Goldman's _Mother Earth_ magazine, drawn by the…

Sharecropper, cover of New Anvil, May-June 1940

de Graff, Stanley
Jack Conroy, a worker and proletarian writer born in a coal mining camp in Missouri, moved to Chicago in 1938, where he worked on the Illinois Writers Project and edited the New Anvil, a small…

Chicago in 1832

Davis, George
This image was published in 1893 when Chicago had a population of more than a million people. A caption at the bottom reads: "This drawing taken by George Davis, a well known resident of Chicago, is a…

Manufactures Building from Horticultural Hall, 1893 World's Fair

Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
A leading photographer of the American West, Jackson made the official set of views for the Exposition.

Inside cover to Great Disclosure of Spiritual Wickedness!!

Packard, Elizabeth
As a result of disagreements over religion and money, Theophilus Packard committed his wife of twenty-one years, Elizabeth Ware Packard, to the Illinois insane asylum in 1860. Three years 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