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

Cover to International Socialist Review, October 1915

Published by Charles H. Kerr Co. from 1900 to 1918, the _International Socialist Review_ became the principal voice of the Socialist Party's left wing, utilizing the format of a mass circulation…

Advertisement for a lecture by Dr. Magnus Hirshfeld, Chicago, 1931.

Dill Pickle Club
Magnus Hirschfeld, an openly gay German physician, was a long-time advocate of human rights for sexual minorities. He founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in 1897 to advocate for the…

Anti-War Dance, 1918

Chicagoans organized many protests against American involvement in World War I, including this Anti-War Dance sponsored by the bohemian Dill Pickle Club. Critics of the war charged that large…

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…

College of Complexes curriculum, 1970

Slim Brundage had been a bouncer at the Dill Pickle Club in the 1920s and the manager of a short-lived open forum known as the Knowledge Box in the 1930s. In the 1950s he opened his own club known as…

Front View of the American Fur Company Buildings, Fond du Lac

Thomas McKenney accompanied Lewis Cass, the governor of the Michigan Territory, to the far west of Lake Superior during the summer of 1826 to meet with American Indian leaders and search for the…

McClure Farm, Franklin County, Indiana

This image of a well-established farm in south eastern Indiana is an example of the many county atlases produced in midwestern states during the late 19th century. The accompanying text (readable in…

Motel in West Des Moines, Iowa

Higbie, Tobias
In the 1980s and 1990s a growing number of businesses and organizations adopted the term "heartland" as part of their corporate identity. The Heartland Inn, a motel chain centered in Iowa, opened its…
Four more random images