Princeton University gets first 6 printed editions of bible, including Gutenberg

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. Credit: Natasha D'Schommer via Princeton University.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Princeton University received the largest gift in its history, a $300 million collection of rare books from philanthropist William Scheide that includes the first six printed editions of the bible.

The collection includes the famed 1455 Gutenberg Bible as well as the first printings of the works of William Shakespeare, called the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Folios. In addition, there is an original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere’s print engraving of the Boston Massacre, and autographed music sketchbooks of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Wagner.

“I cannot imagine a more marvelous collection to serve as the heart of our library,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement.

Princeton is designing a new space for the collection as part of its Firestone Library. It is also digitizing some of the materials, such as the Gutenberg Bible, for availability on its website.

Scheide, who died last November at the age of 100, has housed his library at the school since 1959.

Posted on February 19, 2015 .