History

Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare’s First Folio Among Rare Book Treasures Donated to University

Vivid reds, pinks and greens of the illustrations run alongside the text in the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible, which was produced in Mainz, Germany, in 1455.

A close-up of illustrations in the Gutenberg Bible, donated to Princeton University by William Scheide. (Image Credit: Princeton University/BBC)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

William Scheide’s donation to Princeton University – numbering 2,500 items – contains the first six printed editions of the Bible, one of which is a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455 . The collection also contains an original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare’s First through Fourth Folio, and handwritten music by composers Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner.

Additional items of note in Scheide’s gifted library include an autographed speech made by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and an original letter written by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the conclusion of the Civil War.  This phenomenal assemblage of the written word represents the work of three generations of bibliophiles starting with Mr. Scheide’s grandfather, William Taylor Scheide, in 1865.

The Scheide Library's autograph manuscript of Cantata 33 dates from 1724, Bach's second year as cantor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany

Handwritten music by Bach was also included in the collection. This piece, Cantata 33, was penned in 1724. (Image Credit: Princeton University/BBC)

Scheide Library Koran

Image of an ornate Quran in the collection that dates to the 1700’s. (Image Credit: Natasha D’Schommer)

Princeton housed The Scheide Library, complete with furniture, rugs, and art work from the collection’s original home in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in their Firestone’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Though open to students and scholars, the collection remained privately owned until it was officially bequeathed to the university following Mr. Scheide’s death in November 2014.  The well known philanthropist’s gift to his Alma Mater stands as the largest to date.

For a larger catalog of books and manuscripts donated by Mr. Scheide please visit Princeton University’s website. Additional information can be found at the BBC.

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