The first volume of the Anthropos appeared in 1906. Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt was the founder and first editor of the new journal, which was to be a forum in which missionaries could publish the results of their research and make it available to their fellow missionaries and to others who had a scientific interest in these kinds of materials. In the first place, therefore, the journal was interested in those materials, which seemed important for mission work. It was, however, to be a strictly scientific journal devoted to Ethnology. From the beginning, and still today, articles can be written in the language of the author, for example, in English, German, French, Spanish.
In 1909, in addition to the journal, Schmidt also set up an ethnological monograph series and in 1914 a series of linguistic monographs, both published by Aschendorff. By 1950, a total of 31 large monographs had been published in these two series. They were combined, when Fritz Bornemann was editor, into one series, called Studia Instituti Anthropos, the first volume of which appeared in 1951. In 1967, under the direction of Wilhelm Saake, another series was inaugurated, the Collectanea Instituti Anthropos, which was to gather and publish documents related to preliterate societies. Parallel to the printed series, the linguistic and ethnographic material was collected on safety film in the Micro Bibliotheca Anthropos. In 1989 the publishing program of the Institute was further broadened by Anthropology & Mission, which appears twice a year and reviews anthropological books and articles relevant for those doing mission work.