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

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…

The Looting of the Old Town of Battleford

During the 1880s communities in Canada's western prairies rebelled against a plan to extend a transcontinental railroad through their territory. Descendants of American Indians and French settlers,…

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in 1830

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Artist Henry Lewis sketched and painted scenes along the upper Mississippi River between 1846 and 1848. He compiled them into a panoramic painting nearly half a mile in length, which was a popular…

Fishing Lakes, Qu' Appelle River

Hind, Henry Youle, 1823-1908
Henry Youle Hind, a chemistry and geology professor at Toronto's Trinity College, led an expedition that explored the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in southern Manitoba and the Qu'Appelle River in…

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…

Canadian Mounted Police

Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
One in a series of drawings by Frederic Remington depicting different Western types.

Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt

Frost, A. B.
Future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is pictured here wearing buckskin and carrying a hunting rifle. After the death of his first wife in childbirth, Roosevelt moved to his ranch in the Dakota…

Panorama of State Buildings from Northwest, 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.
Four more random images