The series was originally created by the presbyterian publishing house of T. & T. Clark in Edinburgh as the Ante-Nicene Christian Library and published in the 1860's. The volumes were edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. This series was published by subscription, and the editors were unable to interest enough subscribers to commission a translation of the homilies of Origen.
In 1885 a US firm, the Christian Literature Company, first of Buffalo, then New York, began to issue the volumes in a reorganised form, edited by the episcopalian bishop of New York, A. Cleveland Coxe. This was in fact piracy of the ANCL, and treated as such by T. &. T. Clark at the time. However there was little recognition of overseas copyright in the USA at this date, and Clark's were obliged to accept the situation. Coxe gave his series the title, The Ante-Nicene Fathers.
The contents are entirely derived from the ANCL, but in a more logical order. However Coxe took the liberty of adding his own introductions and notes, which were criticised by Roman Catholic reviewers. One approved the faithfulness of the translations, but wrote that Coxe:
The volumes include the following:
Volume II. Fathers of the Second Century
Volume III. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
Volume IV. The Fathers of the Third Century
Volume V. The Fathers of the Third Century
Volume VI. The Fathers of the Third Century
Volume VII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
Volume VIII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
Volume IX. Recently Discovered Additions to Early Christian Literature; Commentaries of Origen