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

Dill Pickle Club House and Chapel

A handbill advertises three plays at Chicago's Dill Pickle Club. An inset map shows artists' studios nearby. The plays touched on social and political issues including labor conflict, abortion, drug…

Annie Oakley

Fox, Richard, K.
The sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born Phoebe Ann Moses to a poor Ohio farming family. To feed and support her family she learned to trap and shoot, and later performed shooting tricks on…

Midway Plaisance looking west, 1893 World's Fair

Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
The Midway Plaisance offered amusements ranging from a replica "Street in Cairo" to carnival rides. The world's first Ferris Wheel, invented by George W. Ferris, was a popular Midway attraction. The…

College of Complexes curriculum, April 1972

Topics addressed at the College of Complexes in 1972 included the psychology of sex, American Indian rights, and the future of cable television. Managed by Slim Brundage, the College was part tavern…

Front View of the American Fur Company Buildings, Fond du Lac

Thomas McKenney accompanied Lewis Cass, the governor of the Michigan Territory, to the far west of Lake Superior during the summer of 1826 to meet with American Indian leaders and search for the…

The Season in Full Swing at the Dill Pickles

An advertisement for a week of events at Chicago's Dill Pickle Club suggests the eclectic mix of radicalism and ribaldry typical of the club. During the fall of 1930 Mae West's melodrama "Sex" played…

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…

Chief American Horse, Northern Cheyenne

Burbank, E. A. (Elbridge Ayer), 1858-1949
Oil on canvas. Signed "E.A. Burbank, Lame Deer, Mont., 1897."
Four more random images