Philanthropist, musician, and bibliophile William H. Scheide ’36 turned 99 years old earlier this month, and he plans to mark the occasion in style at a Jan. 18 concert in Richardson Auditorium that will feature works by Beethoven and Vivaldi. As with previous birthday concerts, this year’s event will benefit a local community organization (the Princeton Community Park Pool).
Scheide continues to play the piano and organ and collect books for the Scheide Library, a privately owned collection housed within the University’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The Library’s extraordinary holdings, acquired by Scheide in the last 60 years and before that by his father, John H. Scheide 1896, and his grandfather, William T. Scheide, include copies of the first four printed Bibles, books from the early years of European printing, and books and manuscripts from early voyages to the Americas. Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian, said that the three generations of Scheides, sharing the same areas of interest, have built a unique, world-famous collection.
Scheide also has added rare musical manuscripts by Bach, Beethoven, and others to the Library. The founder and longtime director of the Bach Aria Group, Scheide said in a 2004 PAW interview that his love of music was apparent even in early childhood, when he listened to a piano trio and cried after the music ended. When his parents asked why he was so upset, he answered, “Because they stopped playing.”
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