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

The Liberty Belle: She's Cracked

A woman dressed in flapper fashion delivers a speech from a soapbox. She points to a sign reading "Liberate the Libido," a reference to the growing popularity of the work of Austrian psychoanalyst…

Farmer planting corn near Creston, Iowa

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Although many had switched to motorized tractors by the late 1940s, this farmer in southwestern Iowa was still using horses.

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…

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…

College of Complexes logo

Pastin, Pat
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…

Corn planting near Friend, [Nebraska]

Bubley, Esther
Two farmers planting with a tractor in eastern Nebraska. Photographer Esther Bubley and her colleague Russell Lee documented daily life along the route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad…

The Riot at Forty-Ninth Street, 1894

Chicago was relatively peaceful during the early weeks of the American Railway Union's boycott of Pullman sleeping cars. Major violence erupted only after a federal court ordered the arrest of Eugene…

Labor rally poster, Du Sable High School

Unionization will advance the cause of all African Americans. So said Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) leader A. Philip Randolph at Du Sable High School in 1937, according to the Pullman…
Four more random images