Frequently Asked Questions:

The Rudolf Steiner Archive (RSA) keeps most of the holdings related to Rudolf Steiner’s works and legacy; however, single documents on 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 copies or image files with the respective notes about their provenance from all the documents that are kept externally. In this respect, we welcome you to contact the archive if any yet unknown or non-localised documents related to Rudolf Steiner should appear. In this regard, the archive does not claim to own the original object, but offers the possibility of an appropriate documentation

Besides Rudolf Steiner’s estate we can find other legacies or partial estates in the RSA, 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 the Complete Works in collaboration with the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House. 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 free research of the holdings. Every lecture, 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 particular texts or objects of Rudolf Steiner’s work or legacy is contrary to the mission and aims of the Rudolf Steiner Archive, which pursues Marie Steiner’s  declared intention, as formulated in 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Copies, photographs or scans of yet unpublished records can be given only in duly justified exceptional cases after the Director has given his approval. The reason is that the RSA has a publication’s assignment for the Complete Works and, in this sense, also the responsibility of being the first to edit the publication.
While being on site, it is allowed to excerpt manually, copy or sketch the records for research purposes (see Access Policy and Terms of Use).

Rudolf Steiner’s blackboard-drawings have been accessible for loan for public exhibitions, since the 90s. E.g. for the Bienniale in Venice in 2013. About 1100 large sized blackboard-drawings have been preserved. Also other objects, such as furniture, models, paintings, eurythmy figures, seals, jewellery can be borrowed for temporary public 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 works towards a philological edition, strictly based on its practical use, e.e. considering all the text varieties as accurately 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, incorporating the original shorthand, preserved manuscripts, notes, as well as additional documents from other archives. By taking all the available documents into account, and through a rigorous review following the permanent orientation according to present editory standards, the Complete Works achieve the highest possible text authenticity.

The often prevailing opinion that older editions of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, particularly those that appeared during Steiner’s lifetime, are more authentic, is mistaken. Rudolf Steiner edited them only in exceptional cases. As time passes, new materials (notes, transcripts) turn up 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 by  Frommann-Holzboog since 2012, there are recurrent misunderstandings about the term „critical“ ("critical" is derived from the Greek krinein, which means to differenciate). This expression denotes the thorough and detaliled work that goes into editing and does not mean that in such editions an author or a work is being judged or critized, but rather that the text’s edition bases on established criteria, as for example, the comparison of different available text variants. It is the usual method employed in editing classical authors like Hegel, Nietzsche, Jakob Burckhadt etc. Rudolf Steiner moved to Weimar to devote himself to a„critical edition“ of Goethe’s writings on the natural sciences.

Critical editions contrast with the so called „reading editions“, which present the text in a modernised style without documenting 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. The Rudolf Steiner Publishing House is planning such a historic-critical edition of  Rudolf Steiner's writings and will be carried out after the finalisation of the Complete Works.

Due to his text conception for the text-critical edition, Christian Clement has neither consulted nor used the records of the Rudolf Steiner Archive. And neither has the Rudolf Steiner Archive nor the Rudolf Steiner’s Estate Administration supported his work financially. The edition appears under his sole academic responsibility and only with the editorial participation of the Frommann-Holzboog Publishing Company.
The Rudolf Steiner Publishing House in Basel has merely accepted a certain number of copies for distribution. The relationship between the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House and the Frommann-Holzboog Publishing Company was described when the second volume of the series appeared in 2015

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

The conclusion of the Complete Works has been planned for the centenary of Rudolf Steiner’s death in 2025. By then, Rudolf Steiner’s Works will be made available in the Complete Works Edition: 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 on Rudolf Steiner’s works expired 70 years after his death.  Since then, it is allowed to publish Rudolf Steiner’s works, indicating the respective source and acknowledging one's own responsibility. 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:

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

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

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

No cinematographic recordings of Rudolf Steiner were found in the collections of film archives in Germany and Switzerland. The consulted archives were: The 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 it had 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, we can conclude that there are no existing sound or cinematographical recordings.

Referring to the publication of remarks made by Rudolf Steiner, which could be understood as racist today, there is  a statement written by the Rudolf Steiner Estate Administration (as the responsible editor) and the Rudolf Steiner Publishing House (as the responsible publisher), which is also mentioned as a footnote to each of the corresponding passages of the Complete Works (see specific note in German).