Natasha D’Schommer

The Scheide Library, a collection of more than 2,500 rare books and manuscripts that has been housed in Firestone Library since 1959, became part of the University’s permanent collection last month. Donated by William H. Scheide ’36, who died in November at the age of 100, the gift is expected to be appraised at nearly $300 million — the largest donation in Princeton’s history.

The Scheide Library holds the first six printed editions of the Bible, starting with the 1455 Gutenberg Bible; other treasures include the original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare’s four folios, and scores signed by Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. The collection was started by Scheide’s grandfather, William T. Scheide, and continued by his father, John H. Scheide 1896. Scheide himself added about 500 items to the library, which is open to students and scholars.

The library originally was located in the family home in Titusville, Pa.; when it was moved to Firestone, Scheide paid to have the room re-created. The collection will be moved in 2017 to C floor to “an even more accurate replica” with the expansion of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University Librarian Karin Trainer said.