Princeton rare book donation is the largest donation in school history

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton University has received the largest single donation in its history.

The Ivy League school announced Monday that William Scheide, a 1936 graduate who died last November at age 100, left the school ownership a rare book and manuscript collection valued at nearly $300 million.

The 2,500-volume collection includes the first six printed editions of the Bible, an original printing of the Declaration of Independence and Beethoven's autographed music sketchbook. It has been housed at Princeton's Firestone Library since 1959.

The collection will continue to be accessible to students, scholars and the public upon request. The library has begun digitizing the collection to make it even more accessible.

Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber called the gift "one of the greatest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world today."