Hannibal Williston Goodwin was born in 1822 in Tompkins County, New York. Like his father, Hannibal became interested in the ministry, and became a rector at a small Episcopalian church in Newark, New Jersey.
The enterprising Goodwin saw the rather new development of photography as a way to reach his flock. He bought himself a camera, and when Kodak first developed its reusable camera in 1881, he bought it and immediately put it to use. But he was disappointed with the dry plate glass slides provided for his stereopticon - the pieces were fragile and often broke. He began experimenting with various liquids and semi-solids to try to create a better substitute, and finally in 1887 he filed for a patent for his formula for cellulose nitrate film. The film was flexible and could be rolled up - a revolution had begun.
Unfortunately, the patent office was rather slow in his day, and before his patent was finalized, George Eastman and Henry Reichenbach had simulated his discovery and filed a separate patent. Goodwin's patent did not come around until 1898, and by then Kodak with its looming capital had essentially cornered the market for cellulose film.
Goodwin approached Kodak gently at first, asking for a small fee for his initial experiments. When he was turned down, he played hardball and sued. At the same time, he began his own business, the Goodwin Film & Production Company.
Unfortunately, on December 31, 1900 as he was walking down a crowded street, he was trampled (!) by a horse cart and died. His lawsuit was passed along to the Ansco Company, who won the case and $5,000,000 for Goodwin's family. Goodwin was 78.