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.

Perspectives

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.

Galleries

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

Speech of John Hossack on the Fugitive Slave Law

Hossack, John
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 required the federal government to assist with retrieving runaway slaves even in free states like Illinois. In an act of civil disobedience, businessman John Hossack and…

Lumber on the docks, Chicago

A view of Chicago's lakefront lumber docks. Ships arrived here from ports in the upper Great Lakes and transferred their cargo to waiting rail cars. The lumber appears to be telegraph poles.

Beaver

Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de
This drawing depicts a beaver and a scene showing Native Americans capturing and drying the meat of wild "Beeves" (long horned beef cattle). Lahontan had visited New France with the French colonial…

Writers Mobilize Against Fascism

Jack Conroy, Walter Snow, Clinton Simpson, J.S. Balch, Will Wharton, Jean Winkler
In this editorial from the _Anvil_, a group of midwestern working class writers survey the economic and political scene of the Great Depression. Many writers and artists joined a loose coalition…

Cheyenne camp attacked at Powder River

From a Cheyenne ledger book, probably illustrated between 1877 and 1879, containing drawings by Black Horse and other Cheyenne warriors. The Black Horse ledger book is part of a long tradition of the…

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…

Beaver

Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de
This drawing depicts a beaver and a scene showing Native Americans capturing and drying the meat of wild "Beeves" (long horned beef cattle). Lahontan had visited New France with the French colonial…

Book binding from Henry Howe's The Great West

The binding of this volume depicts a frontiersman clearing land in the center, a family traveling by covered wagon at the top, and a farmer harvesting grain at the bottom. Together the three scenes…
Four more random images