The Midwest Latino Scholars Network (MLSN) was an informal group of academics that began to address the issues of isolation of Latino scholars in the Midwest from 1985-1986. MLSN held a conference in 1987 with a core group volunteering to serve as the foundation to become the steering committee of what eventually became the Midwest Consortium for Latino Research (MCLR). With a 1988 Planning Grant from the Joyce Foundation, objectives for the MCLR were established and in 1989, the MCLR secretariat was established at Michigan State University. They developed conferences, publications and the MCLR-L listserve in 1990. In 1999, the MCLR secretariat moved to the University of Minnesota and ceased operations in 2010.
The core of the collection was organized and donated by the Wayne State University MCLR representative. Additional materials were deposited for this collection from the University of Minnesota Secretariat in 2010.