The genesis of the American Annual can be traced to an early competition
between manufacturer E.& H.T. Anthony (founded 1841) and Scovill
Manufacturing Company (founded 1850). Both early distributors of
photographic supplies were anxious to capitalize on the rapid Western
expansion. Anthony’s first publishing venture was a small sheet, the
1855 Bulletin of Photographic Invention and Improvement. The
publication was annual until 1870, when it became a monthly publishing
“serviceable and interesting information to all those engaged in
photography, professional or otherwise” (Marder 199). It was distributed
free, with a suggested donation of 25 cents to defray publishing costs.
Anthony also became the sole U.S. agent for The British Journal’s Annual of Photography
in 1870. The success of Anthony’s publishing and distribution efforts
eventually moved Scovill (now Scovill & Adams) to introduce The American Annual of Photography in 1887, an instant popular success which sold out two printings.