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, 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.

The American West remains the most imagined region of the United States. Its history, for many, embodies the nation’s.
Ned Blackhawk, Professor of History & American Studies, Yale University

Key Data

Period Covered

  • Early 18th to Mid-20th Century


  • Papers of early pioneers and explorers, including the original manuscript journal and papers of James Audubon
  • Documents relating to Canada and the Pacific Northwest including accounts of the Gold Rush and of the landscape
  • Materials such as prospectuses and city directories that chart the evolution of towns and cities
  • Maps and records of key companies, enabling the exploration of the growth of railway and road networks
  • Emigrants guides, manuscript travel journals, store catalogues, and maps evincing the phenomenon of Westward expansion
  • Accounts of ranches and of the prairie lands, documenting agricultural transformation
  • Rich resources for the study of Texas, Mexico and the South
  • Literary and historical works as well as contemporary newspapers and posters - for a better understanding of the real and mythic West, with first-hand accounts of the lives of vigilantes and outlaws

Source Archive

  • The Newberry Library, Chicago

Material Types

  • Original manuscripts
  • Ephemeral material (trade cards, wanted posters, photos, claim certificates, news-sheets etc.)
  • Maps
  • Rare printed works

Editorial Board

  • Carl Abbott, Portland State University
  • Ned Blackhawk, Yale University
  • Kathy Brosnan, University of Houston
  • Richard Slatta, North Carolina State University


  • Agricultural 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
  • Military Encounters

Key Features

  • Interactive Data Maps
  • Visual Gallery
  • Carefully selected external links
  • Chronology
  • Contextual essays


Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers

The American West. Adam Matthew Digital. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years. Users will strike gold with ......

Highly recommended for academic, public, and special libraries serving American history researchers

This e-version of the Graff Collection of Western Americana contains over 300 original manuscripts; 120 zoomable maps; ephemera (trade cards, wanted posters, photos, claim certificates, and newssheets); printed sources (......

The American West provides a rare and fascinating insight into tales of frontier life

The American West has been awarded an 'Outstanding Academic Title' by Choice Magazine, America's leading academic review journal. One of just 40 electronic resources and 652 books selected, The ......