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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.

Civilian Conservation Corps crew working on East Bearskin Road, north of Grand Marais, Minnesota

Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work relief program started in 1933; Minnesota's 148 camps had over 70,000 workers.

Palace Clothing Company trade card

Discrimination in Advertising Trade Cards

Discover advertising trade cards from the late 19th and early 20th-century used by businesses throughout America.

The Organizer (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Volume 1, Number 5

Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934

One of the most violent labor disputes in state history took place at the height of the Depression.

Police officers and illegal liquor, Northfield, Minnesota

Temperance to Prohibition

Learn how the national temperance movement evolved resulting in prohibition of liquor and how it played out in Minnesota.

Suffragist wagon New

Women's Suffrage in Minnesota

Explore resources related to the women's suffrage movement in Minnesota.