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

Towards the Dawn!

Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation
A family walks an uphill road toward a rising sun symbolizing the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).  The Great Depression of the 1930s hit farmers and rural communities particularly hard. …

Fur trade contract, 1692

Francoeur, François
Fur trade contract, dated Sept. 15, 1692 in Ville-Marie, Québec, concerning transport of merchandise to Michilimackinac and Chicago to be traded for beaver pelts. The contract describes an agreement…

Haymarket monument, Chicago

Higbie, Tobias
In 2004 the city of Chicago dedicated a monument to commemorate the anarchist labor leaders arrested in the wake of a bomb explosion in Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886. Behind the monument a giant…

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.

Is Free Love Possible?

An advertisement for a debate on free love at the Dill Pickle Club.

Woman's Protest Against Woman Suffrage

Illinois Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage
Chicago novelist Caroline F. Corbin considered socialism and women's suffrage closely allied evils. Together, she believed, the two would undermine the traditional family and ultimately harm women. In…

Sanitary Drinking Cup, Socialist Party Presidential Campaign of 1912

A re-usable drinking cup with the pictures of 1912 Socialist Party candidates for President and Vice President of the U.S. Eugene V. Debs ran for President five times between 1900 and 1920, the last…

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…
Four more random images