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


Parsons, Albert R.
This book was written by the author while in prison awaiting execution for his participation in the Chicago Haymarket Square riot. Albert Parsons was executed on November 11, 1887. _Anarchismus_ is…

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…

Advertisement for Buffalo Bill's Wild West

One of many posters advertising William Cody's Wild West Show as a re-enactment of Euro-American conflict with American Indians.

Residence of Ira A. Warren, Emmett Township, Calhoun County, Michigan

Pierce, H. B.
Ira and Susan Warren resided in Calhoun, County, Michigan, near the city of Battle Creek. They likely paid in advance for a copy of the History of Calhoun County, receiving in exchange a biographic…

For Pike's Peak Ho!

Central Overland, California and Pike's Peak Express Co.
As this advertisement explains, the trip from western Missouri to Denver took more than six days by stagecoach in the 1860s. The advent of rail travel would greatly speed transcontinental travel in…

Indian shooting fish

Eastman, Seth, 1808-1875
A Native American man crouches at the bank of a river. He holds a bow and arrow and aims at the water.

Canadiska Västern: den Sista Bästa Västern

Canada. Department of Interior.
A young man wipes his brow as if resting from hard work. In the background, symbols of agriculture and industry stretch out toward a distant mountain range. During the early 20th century, the…

Grain elevators, Central Illinois

Higbie, Tobias
Two grain elevator facilities west of Champaign, Illinois. On the left, the larger facility is that of The Andersons Grain and Ethanol Group. On the right, the much smaller Rising Farmers Grain…
Four more random images