Frequently Asked Questions:

The Rudolf Steiner Archive (RSA) keeps most of the holdings from Rudolf Steiner’s works and legacy; however, single documents or specific fields are in the Goetheanum’s archive, in the Ita Wegman Institute, in archives of companies (Weleda, etc.) and in other institutions.
In general, the RSA has from all those documents that are kept externally, copies or image files with the respective notes about their provenance. In this respect, we welcome you to contact the archive if any yet unknown or non-localized documents on Rudolf Steiner should appear. In this regard, the archive does not claim for owning the original object, but for the possibility of an appropriate documentation

Besides Rudolf Steiner’s estate we can find in the RSA other legacies or partial estates, such as the estates of  Marie Steiner – von Sivers , Adolf Arenson, Andrej Belyj, Marie Groddeck, Carl Kemper, Tatjana Kisseleff, Maria Pozzo, Hermann Ranzenberger, Walter Roggenkamp, Ilona Schubert, Assja Turgenieff, Carl Unger, Margarita Woloschin, Gerlinde Zaiser, Hans Zbinden.

Anyone can use the archive and consult Rudolf Steiner’s legacy, as it is stated in the Access policy and Terms of use (see Access policy). However, due to the fact that the RSA is a private archive, there is no legal obligation.

The Rudolf Steiner Archive publishes in collaboration with the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House the Complete Works. This means Rudolf Steiner’s complete Works according to the edition’s plan from 1961 and 2016. This follows the ultimate goal of making Steiner’s works accessible through publications and through a free research of the holdings. All lectures, texts, notes, etc. can be consulted in the archive’s reading room. The only restriction could be a temporary inaccessibility of those records which are being used in the preparation for a publication.
Secrecy or any privileged access to determined texts or objects of Rudolf Steiner’s work or legacy is diametrically opposed to the mission and aims of the Rudolf Steiner Archive, which pursues Marie Steiner’s  declared intentions, as she formulated the duties of the Rudolf Steiner Estate Administration.

Copies, photographs or scans of yet unpublished records can be given only in duly justified exceptional cases after the decision taken by the Director. The reason is that the RSA has a publication’s assignment for the Complete Works and, in this sense, also the responsability of first editing.
During the use on site, it is allowed to excerpt manually, copy or sketch the records for research purposes (see Access Policy and Terms of Use).

Since the '90s Rudolf Steiner’s blackboard-drawings have been accessible for loan for public exhibitions, such as for the Biennial in Venice 2013. About 1100 large sized blackboard-drawings have been preserved. Also other objects, such as furniture, models, paintings, eurythmy figures, seals, jewelry can be borrowed for public temporary exhibitions, following conservation standards and by payment of the corresponding loan fees (see Exhibitions-> Loan)

In the Complete Works, volume 40a, there is an index of all sayings and mantras. Most of the sayings have been published in the „Truth-Wrought Words“(GA 40) and in the „Soul-Exercises“(GA 267/268). The collected verses for teachers have been published in volume GA 269.

The Rudolf Steiner Estate Administration aims for a strict praxis based on a philological edition, that takes into consideration all text wittnesses as accurate as possible. The edition of a lecture in the Complete Works is not generally based on one single transcription, but on the entire archival holdings for the respective text, what means, original shorthand, preserved manuscripts, notes, as well as additional documents from other archives. By taking into account all available documents,  and through a rigorous review under the permanent guidance of the present edition’s standards, the Complete Works intend the highest possible text’s authenticity.

The often prevailing opinion that older editions of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, particularly those appeared during Steiner’s lifetime, are more literal, is mistaken. Rudolf Steiner has only in exceptional cases edited them, while as times passes, new materials (notes, transcripts) appear and reach the archive, where they are examined for the new editions. In this sense, always the last and newest edition of a lecture is the best possible one.

In relation to Christian Clement’s critical edition Rudolf Steiner – Schriften Kritische Ausgabe published since 2012 by  Frommann-Holzboog, there are recurrent misunderstandings about the term „critical“. This expression does not mean that in such editions an author or a work is being judged or critized, but rather that the text’s edition is done thoroughly and detailed ("critical" derives from greek krinein, which means differenciate), and according to established criteria, as for example, the consideration of different available text variants. This practice is obviously found in the edition of classical authors like Hegel, Nietzsche, Jakob Burkhadt etc. During his time in Weimar, Rudolf Steiner himself participated in a „critical edition“ of Goethe’s writings on natural sciences.
Critical editions contrast with the so called „reading editions“, which present the text in a modernized style without documentation of the text’s variants. Besides these two forms, there is still the most exigent and comprehensive one, in which not only the critical text, but all the available materials, particularly every preliminary stage of a text, from the draft to the manuscript ready for print, even the corrections of the proof-sheets, are edited. Such an historic-critical edition of Rudolf Steiner’s writings is planned by the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House and will be edited after finalization of the Complete Works.

Due to his text conception in the text-critical edition, Christian Clement has neither consulted nor used the records of the Rudolf Steiner Archive. And neither the Rudolf Steiner Archive nor the Rudolf Steiner’s Estate Administration has financially supported his work. The edition appears under his unique academic responsability and with the solely editorial participation of the Frommann-Holzboog Publishing Company.
The Rudolf Steiner Publishing House in Basel has merely accepted a certain number of exemplars only for distribution. The relationship with the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House is mentioned since 2015, as the second volume of the serie appeared.

Rudolf Steiner has held about 6200 lectures, and 3700 of them have been written down by listeners (in shorthand or notes). In the Complete Works every lecture is edited, if the quality of the transcript allows it. Until now, from the so called parallel lectures (those given in different cities on the same subject), only the best transcript has been published. The goal is to edit, until 2025, when the finalization of the Complete Works is planned, even those parallel lectures.

The conclusion of the Complete Works is planned to be achieved for Rudolf Steiner’s 100th death anniversary. By then, Rudolf Steiner’s Works, in literal sense, will be made available in the Complete Works: books, essays, letters, fragments, notes and lectures. (See Planning Overview). Further materials, which cannot appear between two book covers, such as lists of members, invitations, programmes, travel documents, etc. can be consulted in our reading room.

The copyright of Rudolf Steiner’s works has expired after 70 years of his death.  Since then, it is allowed to publish Rudolf Steiner’s works, indicating the respective source and under own responsability. This is valid for his writings, essays, lectures, drawings etc. For the publication of single Volumes of the Complete Works edited by the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House and the texts of the editors in those volumes, the copyright  is owned by the publisher: verlag@steinerverlag.com

According to the actual state of research and after investigating in the most important archives, the probability of existence of such kind of documents is excluded. For sound recordings following archives have been contacted: Swiss National Sound Archive, Lugano; German Broadcasting Archive, Wiesbaden; Sound Archive, Cologne; BASF company archive, Ludwigshafen; Phonogramm Archiv, Vienna.

After their informations, there are no sound recordings of Rudolf Steiner in any of these archives. It has to be considered that sound technology at the beginning of the 20th century was in its first stages.

Also from the existing documents and notes in the Rudolf Steiner Archive, it is not possible to infer that it came to a recording during a lecture or a speech.

In the collections of film archives in German and Switzerland no cinematographic recordings of Rudolf Steiner were found. The consulted archives are: German Federal Archive, Filmarchive in Berlin; the Swiss National Filmarchive, Lausanne.
It should be noted that cinematographical recordings at that time were still something extraordinary and as such, it would be known if occured. Amateur filmmakers were rare. On the basis of technical conditions and requirements, on memories, notes and communications, as well as research done in the respective archives, it can be concluded that there are no existing sound or cinematographical recordings.

About the publication of remarks of Rudolf Steiner, which could eventually be understood as racist, there is  a statement written by the Rudolf Steiner Estate Administration (as responsable editor) and the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House (as responsable publisher), which is edited in each of the corresponding passages of the Complete Works (see specific note in German).

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