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

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.

A Tale of Three Actors

Morris, Jim
Studs Terkel, Oscar Brown, and Fred Pinkard working together in a play protesting the hydrogen bomb. Pinkard work on WMAQ's "Destination Freedom."

Sexual Reform on a Scientific Basis

Hirschfield, Magnus
Cover of the literary magazine _Earth_ published in Wheaton, Illinois. Magnus Hirschfeld, an openly gay German physician, was a long-time advocate of human rights for sexual minorities. The article…

Memorial Image of Louis Riel

A memorial to Metis leader Louis Riel who was executed by Canadian authorities on the charges of murder and treason. The imagery of cabins and a teepee suggests the close relationship between the…

Attention Workingmen! Achtung Arbeiter!

This bilingual broadside advertised a meeting in Chicago's Haymarket Square in 1886. An explosion near the end of the rally resulted in at least eleven deaths and dozens of injuries. Though the person…

Step High, Stoop Low, Leave Your Dignity Outside: Entrance to the Dill Pickle Club, 18 Tooker Alley

Among Chicago's most unusual contributions to the culture of modern urban life was the Dill Pickle Club, located at 18 Tooker Alley just east of Bughouse Square. Operating as a coffeehouse, art…

Farm scene near Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

Bubley, Esther
A farmer riding a tractor tills a field in western Nebraska. Small gasoline powered tractors like this one transformed farm work during the middle of the 20th century.

Earth flags and Golden Arches

Koslow, Jennifer
Police cordon surround an antiwar march, March 2004, Chicago. The Earth flags carried by protesters and the corporate advertising in the background are contrasting symbols of globalization.
Four more random images