Emil Kühn was born on 6 February 1886 in Schwäbisch-Gmund, Germany. The family moved to Stuttgart when his father, who had a silverware factory, died in 1895.
He went to the Gymnasium (Grammar School) and the Realschule (Technical grammar School) in Stuttgart. He studied geology and mineralogy in Freiberg and his PhD thesis was about the preservation of precious metals.
He worked for a lead and silver mining company immediately after his studies and from 1912 he worked for the Behr furniture factory. There he learnt about anthroposophy form the women he would later marry, Martha Behr. In 1920 he became a member of the Anthroposophy Association.
He was active in the founding of the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart. From 1936-1938 and then from 1945-59 he was the chairman of Waldorf Schools Association. He was also for many years the chairman of the Anthroposophist Building Union and treasurer of the building fund.
In 1939 he bought Haus Lehrs from Clara Lehrs for 30,000 marks. This enabled her to pay the money she owed to the authorities and allowed the work of the Special Class to go on.
After 1945 to 1965 he was the CEO of the German Anthroposophy Society.
He continued his connection to the Waldorf / Anthroposophy movements and celebrated his 80th birthday with a Eurhythmy display in the Rudolph Steiner Haus in Stuttgart, a house he had helped to build.
He died on 9 November 1968.