Primary Source Sets

The Northfield-Rice County Digital History Collection has developed these Primary Source Sets to organize our online content into topics for students and researchers to explore. The sources highlighted in these sets all reflect the local Northfield experience of a larger historic event, theme, or era.

All of these sets include a topic overview, links to approximately 20 unique digitized items available on the DHC's online database, discussion questions, related resources, and a guide to interpreting and using primary sources for research. We have also identified several benchmarks within the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in both Social Studies and English Language Arts that can be explored with these sets.

Read our Primary Source Set Users Guide for tips and tricks.

We encourage you to explore the Northfield-area stories that can be found within the sources online!

Settlement & Immigration

The James-Younger Gang Bank Raid

Malt-O-Meal in Northfield

Ames Mill and the Cannon River

Agriculture & Farming

Milling in Northfield

Women in Northfield

World War I Home Front

1918 Influenza Epidemic

World War II in Northfield

Northfield Architecture

Religion in Northfield

Entertaining Northfield

Primary Source Guidelines

Following are some guidelines you can use to analyze the primary sources in each of the Primary Source Sets listed above.

For each source, indicate:

  • the author’s point of view
  • the author’s purpose
  • historical context
  • audience

For further analysis, ask students to:

  • explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
  • explain the relationships between sources
  • compare and contrast source in terms of point of view and method
  • support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
  • identify questions for further investigation

Additional Tools


We would like to thank the Minnesota Digital Library for their inspiration and guidance as we developed our Primary Source Sets. For other statewide primary source sets, check out their growing list of topics!

Send us feedback about these primary source sets!

These publications were made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.