A $2.6 million discovery

Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is my DH’s alma mater. He also was the VP for Institutional Advancement there a few years ago. This is a place that is near and dear to his heart. Look at what was found in the library!

Full article and picture here. More pics here.


St. Davids, PA, October 13, 2005: The lost autograph manuscript of one of composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s most revolutionary works has been discovered in the library archives of Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, 6 East Lancaster Ave. in Wynnewood, PA. The Grosse Fuge in B flat major (Op. 134)is written for piano four-hands and was found in the Library this summer by Heather Carbo, circulation supervisor in the Austen K. deBlois Library, who was looking through some obscure archival materials. “I’d heard oral history about a Beethoven manuscript, so I recognized what I had found immediately,” she says. The 80-page album will be on public display Thursday, Oct. 13, at Palmer Theological Seminary from 12:30-4PM.

Dr. Jeffrey Kallberg at the University of Pennsylvania authenticated the manuscript, as did Dr. Stephen Roe, head of Sotheby’s Manuscript department, who said, “This is an amazing find. The manuscript was only known from a brief description in a catalog in 1890 and it has never before been seen or described by Beethoven scholars. Its rediscovery will allow a complete reassessment of this extraordinary music.” It will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in London December 1, 2005, and is expected to bring up to $2.6 million.

What makes this “Beethoven Blessing” even more astounding is that it follows on the “Mozart Miracle,” the Seminary’s discovery in 1990 of original music manuscripts by Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Meyerbeer and Spohr. After being authenticated, they were also put up for sale at Sotheby’s of London, where they yielded proceeds of $1,576,000.

Dr. Wallace Smith, president of Palmer Theological Seminary, said, “I was both thrilled and overjoyed when I heard about the rediscovery of this wonderful manuscript, a true original by an artist for the ages.” All of these valuable manuscripts were part of a collection presented to the Seminary in 1950 by Margaret Treat Doane, daughter of the industrialist and hymn-writer William Howard Doane. At the time of the Mozart sale, there were suspicions that not all of the Doane bequest had been accounted for and now this discovery of the Grosse Fuge proves that this was not just a rumor but a fact.