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

Emigrants Crossing the Plains

A family traveling by covered wagon stops to cook a meal. In the background a line of wagons stretches to the horizon.

Carte copiée sur celle qui a été tracée par le sauvage Ochagache et autres

Margry. Pierre
The map shown here was traced in a French archive in 1846 from an original map drawn in the 1730s by Auchagah (Ochagache), a Cree Indian, at the request of a French army officer stationed at a fort…

Chicago Magazine, The West As It Is

This magazine cover shows an American Indian watching a locomotive pulling into Chicago as the sun rises over Lake Michigan.

Pioneers Entering Kentucky

This drawing appeared in an account of Daniel Boone's early settlement in Kentucky that emphasized the hostility of American Indians to the newcomers.

Oak Park Farm

Heisler, E. F.
In the late 19th century prosperous farmers like Henry Coppock of Johnson County in eastern Kansas often paid to have elaborate engravings of their properties placed in county atlases. In this case,…

Columbia Avenue in Manufactures Building, 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.

Custer's Last Rally

In the preface to the book, the author, T. M. Newson, claims, "Most scenes described, and nearly all the incidents narrated, in the pages of this book, were part of my own personal experience of a…

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…
Four more random images