The Southwestern Mission Research Center was created in 1965 mainly through the determination of Rev. Charles W. Polzer, S.J. It is a nonprofit organization which was originally set up for the purpose of locating for Father Kino’s grave and to conduct related research on this topic. After the discovery of Father Kino’s gravesite in 1966, the Center became dedicated to promoting, coordinating, and developing research studies pertaining to the Spanish Borderlands.
SMRC began publishing a Spanish colonial newsletter in 1967 to help bridge the gap between anthropologists and historians who were interested in the history of the southwest. In 1974 the Center started to offer tours of the Kino missions which introduced people to the history and culture of the Pimeria Alta, in the Sonora Desert of Mexico and Arizona. SMRC also sponsored the Gran Quivira Conferences from 1972-1988, and the conference of Spanish and Latin American Archivist (SPARCON) from 1984-1986. The center published numerous publications about the history of Pimeria Alta, the most popular being the Kino Guide I and II written by of Rev. Charles W. Polzer, S.J.
The collection include financial records, meeting minutes, projects, SMRC tours information and other materials relating to the daily operation of SMRC. The materials focusing on specific conferences, such as Gran Quivira and SPARCON are contained in the series of the Conference, which includes the planning, invitation, correspondence, and conference schedules. The Board of director meeting minutes, miscellaneous correspondence, history of the center, and business financial records are arranged in the Organization series. The newsletter, books SMRC published and promoted, and newspapers collected by SMRC are under Publication series. Projects and proposals are included in Research series. All information related to tours is contained in Tours.