Princeton University has been gifted an astonishing trove of rare books valued at nearly $US300 million ($A383.6 million).
The collection includes the first six printed editions of The Bible and the original printing of the Declaration of Independence.
The Ivy League school in New Jersey says the book-loving philanthropist William Scheide, a Princeton alumnus who died aged 100 in November, had bequeathed the university some 2500 rare printed books and manuscripts.
The collection’s enormous value makes it the largest gift in the university’s history.
“I cannot imagine a more marvellous collection to serve as the heart of our library,” Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said.
“We are grateful for Bill Scheide’s everlasting dedication to Princeton and his commitment to sharing his breathtaking collection with scholars and students for generations to come.”
The vast collection includes the first six printed editions of The Bible, starting with a 1455 Gutenberg Bible; the original printing of America’s Declaration of Independence; handwritten music by Beethoven; and Shakespeare’s first, second, third and fourth folios.