The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XX. Magazines, Annuals, and Gift-books, 1783–1850

§ 16. The Atlantic Souvenir

The annuals came as a late accompaniment of the wave of sentimentality in literature and art that swept over England and America during the early years of the nineteenth century. The fashion of issuing them is said to have started in Germany, whence it spread to England and a little later to America. The Atlantic Souvenir of 1826 was the first of the American annuals proper, though before that time there had been a few illustrated miscellanies which might be classed as gift-books. The number increased rapidly until, according to Mr. Faxon’s excellent bibliography, “from 1846 to 1852 an average of sixty appeared each year.” By the beginning of the Civil War the day of the annuals was over, though the list of holiday books has each year contained a few miscellanies intended chiefly as gifts.