Donor gives Princeton collection of rare books valued at $300,000,000 !

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tags: Princeton, William H. Scheide



Musician, musicologist, bibliophile and philanthropist William H. Scheide, a 1936 Princeton University alumnus who died in November at age 100, has left his extraordinary collection of some 2,500 rare printed books and manuscripts to Princeton University. With an expected appraised value of nearly $300 million, it is the largest gift in the University's history.

The Scheide Library has been housed in Princeton's Firestone Library since 1959, when Scheide moved the collection from his hometown of Titusville, Pennsylvania. It holds the first six printed editions of the Bible, starting with the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, the earliest substantial European printed book; the original printing of the Declaration of Independence; Beethoven's autograph (in his own handwriting) music sketchbook for 1815-16, the only outside Europe; Shakespeare's first, second, third and fourth folios; significant autograph music manuscripts of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner; a lengthy autograph speech by Abraham Lincoln from 1856 on the problems of slavery; and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's original letter and telegram copy books from the last weeks of the Civil War.

"Through Bill Scheide's generosity, one of the greatest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world today will have a permanent home here," said Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber. "It will stand as a defining collection for Firestone Library and Princeton University. I cannot imagine a more marvelous collection to serve as the heart of our library. We are grateful for Bill Scheide's everlasting dedication to Princeton and his commitment to sharing his breathtaking collection with scholars and students for generations to come."




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