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


Eastman, Charles Alexander, 1858-1939
This portrait of Rain-in-the-Face appeared with an article about the Battle of Little Big Horn written by Charles Eastman. Unlike his portrait in image #52, here the former Sioux warrior chose to…

UPI Press wire demonstration at the Chicago Sun-Times regarding editorial “Now that the March is Over,” August 29, 1963

While returning to Chicago by train from the 1963 March on Washington, some civil rights activists read a Sun-Times editorial critical of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders. As this newswire…

Advertisement for Buffalo Bill's Wild West

One of many posters advertising William Cody's Wild West Show as a re-enactment of Euro-American conflict with American Indians.

The Switzerland of America

Appearing in a guidebook, "How to Go West," this advertisement celebrated the healthful climate and natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains as "The Switzerland of America."

The Capture of Batoche

Batoche in Saskatchewan was the capital of the Métis provisional government during the 1885 Riel Rebellion. The Canadian government defeated the rebellion in the Battle of Batoche.

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…

Factory worker filing small gun parts, Milwaukee

Hollem, Howard R.
Photographers working for the U.S. Office of War Information documented the dependence of factories on women workers. In February 1943 this young woman at the Vilter Manufacturing Company in…


Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de
This drawing depicts a beaver and a scene showing Native Americans capturing and drying the meat of wild "Beeves" (long horned beef cattle). Lahontan had visited New France with the French colonial…
Four more random images