Emil and Berta

The Origins of the Waldorf School Movement

Sophia Christine Murphy

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234 x 156 mm
Waldorf Publications
Steiner-Waldorf Education
208 pages
Publication date:
12 Aug 2019


It is 1919, and Europe has been devastated by the First World War. Emil Molt, the managing director of Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Germany, and his wife Berta wanted to start a school to educate the children of their employees, and turned to their friend Rudolf Steiner for guidance. That would be the start of revolutionary approach to education, now known worldwide as Waldorf education.

Sophia Christine Murphy, Emil Molt’s grand-daughter, draws on her grandfather’s diaries to trace the couple's struggles, betrayals, successes and breakthroughs in the founding and nurturing of the first Waldorf school. Murphy tells the story with grace, ease and objectivity, bringing this remarkable chapter of educational history to life.


"The book is well written and very engaging, and I found myself warmly and sympathetically following the idealism, struggles and tragedy of Emil Molt's life and its part in world history. I deeply appreciate the years of dedicated and courageous research that went into this piece and do so agree with the title, acknowledging the very special, active partnership between Emil and Berta."
Alice Groh, founder of Temple-Wilton Community Farm and Waldorf parent


Sophia Christine Murphy is Emil Molt's granddaughter. She was the Director of Weleda USA for many years and founded Lilipoh magazine. She now lives in Ireland.

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