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Primary Source Sets

The Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop critical thinking skills by exploring a variety of topics related to Minnesota’s history and culture. Using both primary and secondary sources, these sets bring together resources in new ways to help students better understand historic events in their context.

Drawing materials from libraries, archives, and museums across Minnesota, these sets use letters, photographs, advertisements, oral histories, postcards, newsletters, speeches, and more. Each set includes a topic overview, ten to twenty primary sources from the MDL collection, links to related resources, and a section called “Think Like a Historian” which offers discussion questions and classroom activities. We invite educators and researchers to use these primary source sets in their teaching and learning.

Basal metabolic rate machine

History of Chiropractic in Minnesota

Learn about the history of chiropractic medicine in Minnesota.

Kugler's Drugstore, Duluth, Minnesota

Made in Minnesota: Patent Medicine on the Prairie

This primary source set provides a brief overview of patent medicine with some Minnesota-related resources.

Mayo Clinic in 1914, Rochester, Minnesota

Origins of the Mayo Clinic

Learn how the Mayo Clinic formed following a devastating tornado in the Rochester area in 1883.