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

Canada Day 1988 Voyageur Cup

Noel, Lynn
A group of Canadians, some dressed as Voyageurs, carry a large canoe of the type used in the fur trade. Canada Day commemorates the 1867 British North America Act that united all different British…

Lac Superieur et autres lieux ou sont les missions des peres de la Compagnie de Iesus, comprises sous le nom d'Outaouacs

Dablon, Claude
This map of the upper Great Lakes shows several Jesuit missions as well as American Indian communities.

Enlightened Public Opinion

U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Education
During the 1930s and 1940s, the federal government sponsored a variety of adult education programs including lectures, study courses, and language instruction. This poster from the U.S. Office of…

Eighth Map to accompany Willard's History of the United States

Maverick, Samuel, 1789-1845
Maps such as these appeared in books for schoolchildren learning history and geography. Unlike earlier maps, this one presents the area west of the Appalachian Mountains as empty land.

March of the Caravan

Gregg, Josiah, 1806-1850
The author and engraver described the view of a caravan passing along the Santa Fe trail in what is now New Mexico: "As the caravan was passing under the northern base of the Round Mound, it presented…

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.

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…

Meadowbrook Farms sign directing drivers

Higbie, Tobias
Meadowbrook Farms, formerly known as "American Heritage Farms," is a producer cooperative based in Rantoul, Illinois, that processes pork products for organic and specialty markets, especially in…
Four more random images