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Shakespeare folios part of huge gift to Princeton University

The 1623 First Folio: Comedies, Histories & Tragedies is a collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, published seven years after his death Image copyright Princeton University
Image caption William Shakespeare's first folio was published in 1623

The first six printed editions of the Bible and copies of Shakespeare's first four folios are among a trove of rare books that have been bequeathed to Princeton University.

William Scheide, a philanthropist who died in November, donated more than 2,500 rare books to his alma mater.

The gift - valued at $300m (£194m) - is the university's largest to date.

"There are discoveries to be made in every document and volume," university librarian Karin Trainer said.

The collection also includes the original printing of the US Declaration of Independence and handwritten music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner.

Image copyright Princeton University
Image caption The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible in 1455, features vividly coloured illustrations
Image copyright Princeton University
Image caption Handwritten music by Bach dates to 1724
Image copyright Princeton University
Image caption William H. Scheide continued a tradition of book collecting started by his grandfather in 1865
Image copyright Princeton University
Image caption An original copy of the US Declaration of Independence

Scheide's grandfather William Taylor Scheide, an oil company executive, started the collection in 1865 at the age of 18. His son, John Hinsdale Scheide, continued the collection and built a library in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

William Scheide and his wife Judy McCartin Scheide kept adding to the collection shortly before his death,

"This collection is the fulfilment of the dreams of three generations of Scheide book men," Ms McCartin Scheide said. "He loved showing people - especially young people who had never seen anything like this before - the collection, letting them touch the books and experience what he called 'the wow factor'."

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