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

Front cover of program for Buffalo Bill and Captain Jack in Life on the Border

A playbill from the five act play entitled, _Life on The Border_ performed at the Dietz Opera House in Oakland, California, on Wednesday, June 13, 1877. Buffalo Bill Cody and Captain Jack Crawford…

Photograph of Elizabeth Packard

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,…

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…

Farm woman gathering eggs

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Although tending poultry was considered "women's work" on midwestern farms, it was a profitable enterprise that brought in much needed cash for farm families.

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…

Portrait of Henry Belland, “the Voyageur”

Mayer, Frank Blackwell, 1827-1899
Frank Blackwell Mayer was a Baltimore artist who traveled independently in 1851 to Minnesota to observe and sketch the Sioux Indians present at treaty negotiations at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota.…

Cover of Buffalo Bill With General Custer

Ingraham, Prentiss, 1843-1904
Prentiss Ingraham, a prolific dime novel writer, worked briefly as an advance agent for Buffalo Bill's show in the 1880s, and wrote hundreds of cheap popular novels about Buffalo Bill.

Foldout map from the Illustrated World's Fair Guide

Four more random images