American West

From the Everett D Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library, Chicago

From early topographical sketches and pioneers’ accounts, to photographs of Buffalo Bill and his ‘Wild West’ stars, explore the fact and the fiction of westward expansion in America from the early eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

Comprised of original manuscripts, rare printed books, maps and ephemeral material from the Everett D Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library in Chicago, American West is a unique resource which allows scholars to explore tales of frontier life, Indigenous Peoples, vigilantes and outlaws.

Covering topics including the growth of urban centres, the environmental impact of westward expansion and life in the borderlands, this collection will be welcomed by scholars working in Western American history, Southern History, the History of the Pacific Northwest, Western Literature, Film and Cultural Studies.

  • Bismarck Tribune containing the first complete account of the Battle of the Little Big Horn
  • Original manuscript journal of John Audubon
  • Manuscript correspondence from both General Custer and William (Buffalo Bill) Cody
  • Original photographic portrait of Kit Carson
  • Manuscript letter in which the writer proposes a future series of states west of the Mississippi for Indian tribes
  • History of the expedition under the command of captains Lewis and Clark.

Key data

Period covered

Early 18th to mid-20th century

Source archive

  • The Newberry Library, Chicago
  • Agriculture development, landscape and the environment
  • Borderlands
  • Cattle ranchers, grazing and trails
  • Homesteaders, overland travel and early settlements
  • Mining and the Gold Rush
  • Native Americans
  • Outlaws, vigilantes and the law
  • Pioneers, hunters and explorers
  • The Imagined West
  • Mormons and missionaries
  • Railroads, transportation and urban history
  • Original manuscripts
  • Ephemeral material (trade cards, wanted posters, photos, claim certificates, news-sheets etc.)
  • Maps
  • Rare printed works
  • Carl Abbott, Portland State University
  • Ned Blackhawk, Yale University
  • Kathy Brosnan, University of Houston
  • Richard Slatta, North Carolina State University
  • Ethnic and Indigenous Studies
  • Migration and Border Studies
  • North American Studies
  • War and Conflict
  • Interactive data maps
  • Visual gallery
  • Carefully selected external links
  • Chronology
  • Contextual essays


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