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Brassey's Naval Annual
Title page of 1887 edition, published 1888
The Naval Annual was a book that provided considerable text and graphic information (largely concerning the British Royal Navy) which had previously been obtainable only by consulting a wide range of often foreign language publications. It was started by Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey in 1886. Though often compared with Jane's Fighting Ships, the two British annuals were, in fact quite different. The Brassey series began a dozen years earlier, and its special strength was the dozen or more detailed articles on naval (plus, from 1920 through 1935, merchant marine) matters, authored by experts. They covered British and other nations' naval developments ranging from the latest ships to overall policy. The first five or six Brassey volumes used a second printing color (a light blue green) to highlight armored portions of naval vessels' hulls. Through 1949, the series was also known for its extensive tabular presentations of individual ship details. But unlike Jane's, the Brassey series was NOT designed for use in identifying ships at sea. Starting with the 1950 volume, content broadened to cover air force and army topics in addition to naval material, with a continued emphasis on British forces. Long runs of the Brassey volumes are relatively uncommon in American libraries.
During its life it underwent a number of title changes.