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

Memorandum regarding the Till murder trial, September 13, 1955, Chicago Sun-Times.

While visiting his relatives in Mississippi during the summer of 1955, fourteen-year old Chicagoan Emmett Till was lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Till's mother insisted on bringing…

Route of the Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake

Seeking to escape harassment, Mormons left their embattled settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846, reaching their destination in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake a year later.

Help Lift the Lid

An advertisement for an evening at Chicago's Dill Pickle Club.

Le Cours du Missisipi

Fer, Nicolas de, 1646-1720
Nicholas De Fer, geographer to the king of France, prepared this map for the _Compagnie d'Occident_ (Company of the West) to promote the development of a French colony in the Mississippi Valley.

Book binding from Henry Howe's The Great West

The binding of this volume depicts a frontiersman clearing land in the center, a family traveling by covered wagon at the top, and a farmer harvesting grain at the bottom. Together the three scenes…

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…

Main Gate to Works, Pullman

Workers leave the Pullman Palace Car Works, 1893. This picture appeared in a promotional booklet celebrating the paternalistic labor policies of George Pullman. A year later Pullman's workers were at…

Demonstrate for Adequate Cash Relief, Chicago, 1936

Illinois Workers Alliance
American workforce was unemployed. Many struggled alone, feeling isolated and disempowered. In Chicago and other large industrial cities, unemployed councils gave voice to the frustrations of the…
Four more random images