Bill Scheide and the Scheide Library

William H. (Bill) Scheide ’36, was an extraordinary and modest gentleman, and a truly dedicated and wise scholar who was renowned across and beyond campus for his broad support of the arts, humanities, and social justice. A musician and musicologist, he made major contributions to our music department, supported the University Art Museum and humanities programming, and helped hundreds of students attend Princeton as Scheide Scholars. The origins of his Library date from 1865, when Bill’s grandfather, William T. Scheide purchased an 1861 copy of Faraday’s lectures. This marked the start of an astounding collection of rare books and manuscripts, built by three Scheide generations: William T Scheide, John H. Scheide, and Bill himself.

In 2015, Bill donated the Scheide Library to Princeton. It remains the largest gift the University has ever received. It contains significant collections of Bibles in manuscript and print, including a Gutenberg and a 36-line Bible; medieval manuscripts and incunabula; printed books on travel and exploration; Americana, including the original printing of the Declaration of Independence; music manuscripts of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and other important materials.