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In 1987, the “Association for the History of Adult Education Centres” founded the Austrian Archives for Adult Education for the following purpose: The systematic collection of text, image and audiovisual sources pertaining to adult education and the history of adult education centres from the period of the formation of “free” adult education that was independent of the state in the last third of the 19th century up to the present.

The Archives’ holdings plus affiliated documentation and specialised library can be used for research within and outside the universities. As the corporate and association archive of the adult education centres in Vienna and of the Association of Austrian Adult Education Centres, the Archives are both an internal repository and external documentation centre.

The Austrian Archives for Adult Education are divided into the following archival sections:

Organisation Archive

  • Wiener Volksbildungsverein (1887 ff.)
  • Urania Wien (1897 ff.)
  • Volkshochschule „Volksheim“ Ottakring (1901 ff.)

Association Archive

  • Konferenz der Erwachsenenbildung Österreichs – KEBÖ (1972 ff.)
  • Verband Österreichischer Volkshochschulen (1950 ff.)
  • Verband Wiener Volksbildung (1949–2008)
  • Die Wiener Volkshochschulen GmbH (2008 ff.)
  • Verband Niederösterreichischer Volkshochschulen (1957 ff.)

Programme archive

  • Programmes of events (1887 ff.)
  • Digital catalogue of all events of the Viennese adult education centres (1887–1980)

Photo archive

  • Photographs from the early days of Austrian adult education to the presen
  • 60,000 glass transparencies from the Photographic Collection at the Urania Wien (1898–1938)

Poster archive

  • 2000 posters (1908 ff.)

Media archive

  • Films
  • Videos
  • Sound recordings


  • Arbeitskreis kritischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare (KriBiBi) (1982–2013)
  • Athenäum Wien (1901–1913)
  • DOKEB – Dokumentationssystem Erwachsenenbildung (1974–1997)
  • Förderstelle des Bundes für Erwachsenenbildung für das Burgenland
  • Institut für Politische Bildung/Mattersburg (1977–1994)
  • Haus Ri(e)f (1955–1993)
  • Österreichische Gesellschaft für Politische Bildung (1994 ff.)
  • Volkstümliche Universitätskurse der Universität Wien (1907–1917)

Donations/bequests/partial bequests

  • Ellenberger, Hugo (bequest)
  • Filla, Wilhelm (bequest)
  • Foltinek, Karl (bequest)
  • Grau, Herbert (partial bequest)
  • Hochwarter, Karl (donation)
  • Lehrl, Josef (fragmentary bequest)
  • Leisching, Eduard (fragmentary bequest)
  • Mark, Karl (fragmentary bequest)
  • Speiser, Wolfgang (bequest)
  • Stadler, Karl R. (bequest)
  • Starmühlner, Ferdinand (partial bequest)

Wolfgang Speiser / Karl Stadler Research Library

  • 50,000 books (historical and current literature on Austrian and European adult education)
  • 600 periodicals (specialist historical journals and bulletins)

The holdings of the Austrian Archives for Adult Education can be researched via Holdings Search and the Archive Plan.