The School was founded in 1888 by a small group of mothers wanting to establish a school for the education of their sons, which had until that time been primarily the provence of either private tutors or eastern boarding schools. The school grew rapidly and by the First World War had full classes for every year from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 1902 Girls Latin was founded and was subsequently merged with Boys Latin to form The Latin School of Chicago in 1948. The school nearly collapsed following the Great Depression and the migration of many families from central Chicago to the suburbs. The school has since rebounded and now boasts more than 1100 pupils in 14 grades, 440 of which are in grades 9 through 12. Like many modern independent schools, the Latin School has sought to increase its national presence over the last decade. It has done so in one regard by pioneering its Humanities interdisciplinary course. Although this course has been moderately successful, in the 2007-2008 school year, it will be discontinued due to the worries of preparation for tenth grade English. The school has also sought to increase its scholarship funding and has consequently become slightly more diverse than it was even 15 years ago. The Latin School has always had the tradition of being an academically conservative school with a strong grounding in the Humanities and the Classics. At least one year of Latin is required of all pupils in 6th grade and the high school curriuculum requires four years of English and a minimum of three years of other subjects. Latin also offers the highest number of AP classes per capita and has a thriving system of Independent Studies.
The current campus has three buildings. The "lower school" (Junior Kindergarden to grade 5) building is the oldest structure dating to the 1950's and is located at 1531 N. Dearborn. The "upper school" (Grades 9-12) building at 59 W. North was completed in 1970. The "middle school" (grades 6-8) building located at 45 W. North was completed in the fall of 2007.