July 2005 Archives

The question often comes up, do you have to be an anthroposophist to be a Waldorf teacher? The simple answer is, No, as Steiner himself demonstrated. According to Emil Molt:

Dr Steiner was broad-minded in his choice of teachers. As an example, the sister of one of my acquaintances had applied to the Waldorf School. She was a teacher by profession but did not know the first thing about anthroposophy or of the personality of Rudolf Steiner. He spoke with her before the beginning of the course and then invited her to attend. She became a very able Waldorf teacher.

Emil Molt. "Emil Molt and the beginnings of the Waldorf School movement: Sketches from an autobiography." Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1991. Page 143.

I read an interesting book the other day: "Emil Molt and the beginnings of the Waldorf School Movement". It’s an autobiography by Emil Molt, the man responsible for the first Waldorf School. I wrote a review on my site. An interesting portion covered the story of how Waldorf Education came to be called “Waldorf”. According to Molt:
The story of the "Waldorf Astoria" goes back to John Jacob Astor. The Astor family, originally from Savoy, had settled in the south German village of Walldorf in Baden. Johann Jakob Astor was born on July 17, 1763. He emigrated to America as a young man and there, with luck and daring, made a great fortune. In the 1850s, the Astor house was the most elegant private home in New York City. Descendants of Astor later founded the famous "Waldorf-Astoria Hotel" in his memory.
Connected with the hotel was the "Waldorf-Astoria Cigar Store Company." Two of its managers, Mr Kramer and Mr Rothschild, had come to Germany around the turn of the century with the trademark rights. Originally, they produced their own brands; later, they had them made by Manoli in Berlin. They were unsuccessful, however, and eventually put their business up for sale. Müller and Marx heard of this, and, in 1905, bought the rights to the trademark.
Müller and Marx were Molt’s partners at the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company. It was after the war the Molt got the idea of a school for the worker’s children, and in its first year, the Waldorf School was a company school, with the teachers on the payroll of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company. (A year later the school became independent). So that is how Waldorf Education got its name.

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