Brayton Ives (1840-1914), Civil War general, president of the New York Stock Exchange, and railroad president, formed a library on the model of those from which he obtained his books: Sunderland, Hamilton Palace, Beckford, Syston Park, and Woodhul. The auction of his collection in 1891 was said at the time to be the “greatest sale of books ever held in America.” In the sale catalogue, Ives noted that three of his books, the Gutenberg Bible, the Virgil of 1470, and the Homer of 1488, “will command forever the admiration and respect of educated people as the worthy objects of the highest form of skillful and conscientious typographical work.”
Remarkably, these three books are now at Princeton, having arrived at different times. First was the 1470 Virgil, purchased by Junius Spencer Morgan after the auction and given to the Library in 1895. Ives’s 1488 Homer was bought by Robert Hoe and then acquired by Cyrus McCormick, Class of 1879, at the Hoe sale in 1911; McCormick’s widow gave the volume to Princeton in 1948, twelve years after her husband’s death. When William H. Scheide moved his family library to Princeton in 1959, he brought with him Ives’s Gutenberg Bible.