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

Carte copiée sur celle qui a été tracée par le sauvage Ochagache et autres

Margry. Pierre
The map shown here was traced in a French archive in 1846 from an original map drawn in the 1730s by Auchagah (Ochagache), a Cree Indian, at the request of a French army officer stationed at a fort…

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…

Indian shooting fish

Eastman, Seth, 1808-1875
A Native American man crouches at the bank of a river. He holds a bow and arrow and aims at the water.

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…

Cover of program for Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World

A program from Cody's Wild West Show at the World's Columbian Exposition. These dramatic open air performances highlighted the horse riding and shooting skills of Euro-American and American Indian…

I Await the Devil's Coming

MacLane, Mary
Nineteen-year-old Mary MacLane from Butte, Montana, may have been the original flapper. She wrote "I Await the Devil's Coming" and sent it to Chicago's Stone and Kimball Company. When it appeared in…

Agriculture section, Aurora Beacon-News Centennial Edition

In 1937 the Aurora Beacon-News commemorated the centennial of Aurora, Illinois, 40 miles west of Chicago. The cover of the agricultural section represented Aurora as a trading center at the heart of…

Back 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…
Four more random images