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Frontier to Heartland: Four Centuries in Central North America

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.

Perspectives

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.

Galleries

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


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Nauvoe, Illinois

Lewis, Henry, 1819-1904
Mormons fleeing persecution in New York State and then Missouri settled in Nauvoo after 1832, building it up to one of the largest cities in Illinois by the mid-1840s. In 1846 other Illinois residents…

Railroad employee reading strike news, Burlington, Iowa

Strikes and government intervention were in the headlines in 1948 as American workers and their unions exerted newly won power to win higher wages. Although this photograph was taken as part of an…

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…

Sleeping on the Burlington Route and Eating on the Burlington Route

Printed in a guidebook, "How to Go West," these advertisements for Pullman cars stressed elegance, comfort, and speed. Pullman cars changed the nature of rail travel for middle and upper class…

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View of Burlington

A view from the south of the town of Burlington, Iowa. Paddle wheel boats navigate the Mississippi River while others dock at the shore. In the foreground a locomotive crosses the iron bridge…

Woman with child in Union Station

Esther Bubley
A woman and child sit in the waiting room of Chicago's Union Station, 1948.

Rain-in-the-Face. Sioux.

Burbank, E. A. (Elbridge Ayer), 1858-1949
Rain-in-the-Face was among the Sioux warriors who defeated the U.S. Army under George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. In this portrait by the painter Eldridge Ayer Burbank he is dressed in a…

Plan de Missilimakinak avec la description de la route du Missisipi

The upper right quadrant of the image details the Straits of Mackinac region, including the fort and Indian village at Saint Ignace and the fort established across the Straits at latter-day Mackinaw…
Four more random images