Alexandra Wilhelmsen, Ph.D.

Alexandra Wilhelmsen, Ph.D.

Emerita Professor of Spanish & History

An American from California who was raised in Spain and studied in Italy for several years, Dr. Alexandra Wilhelmsen was the historian in the Department of Modern Languages. She retired in May of 2017 after teaching at UD since the Fall of 1971. Dr. Wilhelmsen is a graduate as well as a former director of our Spanish Program. She is a specialist on Spain. During her years as a professor at UD, she taught dozens of different courses in both Spanish and English, directed half a dozen M.A. theses, directed over one hundred and thirty senior research projects, taught on UD’s Rome Campus, and in Spain at UD’s summer programs. She also took Spanish graduate students on study trips to Mexico, served in the Faculty Senate and on seventy-five formal committees. Dr. Wilhelmsen was responsible for the creation of UD's library collection in Spanish history, and she began the annual Día de la Hispanidad celebration in 2006. Dr. Wilhelmsen initiated UD's relationship with the Catholic University of Avila, in Spain. At the time of her retirement, the Spanish Program created the Alexandra Wilhelmsen Scholarship Award for exceptional academic work by a senior graduating in Spanish.

Dr. Wilhelmsen has published on many topics in Spanish history. She is acknowledged as an expert on Spanish Carlism, a political and religious movement of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

  • Ph. et Litt. D., History, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) - Dissertation on Carlist political thought
  • M.A., History, Rice University - Thesis on Visigothic law
  • B.A., Spanish and Politics, University of Dallas
  • Professor of Spanish
  • Adjunct Professor of History
  • Second Year Spanish II (MSP 2313)
  • Spanish Medieval History (MSP 4301)
  • Mexican Civilization
  • Introduction to the Art of Spain and Mexico
  • History of Medieval Spain
  • History of Habsburg Spain (the Golden Age)
  • History of Bourbon Spain (the Age of Revolution)
  • Senior Project (MSP 5302)

Alexandra Wilhelmsen’s research on Carlism focuses on political thought and on the life in exile of the Carlist branch of the Spanish Royal Family. Her quest for documents has taken her to over fifty libraries, archives, palaces, and churches in Austria, England, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the Vatican, as well as in the United States. She has also received documents and illustrations by mail from Brazil. 

  • "María Teresa de Braganza Borbón: una Infanta valiente en el siglo XIX," Aportes.  Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid), XXXVI, 105: 7-107.
  • "Doña María Teresa de Braganza y Borbón (1793-1874)," chapter two of Reinas carlistas.  Carlos María Pérez-Roldán y Suances-Carpegna, ed.  Madrid: Asociación Editorial Tradicionalista, 2021, pp. .49-79
  • El Desarrollo del pensamiento político del Carlismo (1810-1875). Madrid: Editorial Actas and Fundación Hernando de Larramendi, 1995. Second printing, 1998. 630 pages. This book received approximately twenty nice reviews published in various countries and was also included in half a dozen collective reviews. Professor Wilhelmsen's ten-page introduction was published in Portuguese translation as "O Antiguo Regime" (by Armando Alexandre dos Santos) in a journal in Lisbon, Portugal (1996) and another in São Paulo, Brazil (1998).

In addition, Dr. Wilhelmsen has published over seventy articles and chapters of books in English and Spanish in different fields. Her most important ones on Carlism and its precursor, Spanish political Realismo, are: 

  • “Carlos VII or an Introduction to Carlism,” Iberian Studies (University of Keele), VIII, 1 (Spring 1979): pp. 25-37.
  • “El Manifiesto de los Persas: una alternativa ante el liberalismo español," Revista de Estudios Políticos (Centro de Estudios Constitucionales, Madrid, Spain), Nueva Época, 12 (Nov.-Dec. 1979): pp. 141-161.
  • “Los realistas en las Cortes de Cádiz: debates sobre un proyecto constitucional,” Cuadernos de Historia de España (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), 63-64 (1982): pp. 292-321.
  • “Los realistas en el Trienio Constitucional: manifiestos de la Regencia de Urgel,” Cuadernos de Historia de España (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), 67-68 (1982): pp. 369-400.
  • “The Political Thought of Don Carlos in the First Carlist War,” in Proceedings of the Fifteenth Consortium on Revolutionary Europe (1750-1850). K. A. Roider, Jr. at al, eds. (Athens, Georgia, 1985), pp. 161-177.
  • "Basque Carlism in the 1830's." Reflections (St. Paul, MN.), Oct. 1985:11. Review of John F. Coverdale, The Basque Phase of Spain's First Carlist War (Princeton University Press, 1984).
  • “The Conspiracy of La Rápita and the Carlist Theory of the Two Legitimacies,” Continuity (The Intercollegiate Studies Institute), 11 (1987): 49-61. Republished in Marginated Groups in Spanish and Portuguese History. W.D. Phillips and C.R. Phillips, eds. Minneapolis, MN: Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, 1989, pp. 127-137.
  • “Vicente Pou: An Early Carlist Political Analyst,” in The Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, 1750-1850. Proceedings, 1989, to Commemorate the Bicentennial of the French Revolution. D. D. Horward and J. C. Horgan, eds. (Tallahassee: The Florida State University, 1990), pp. 497-503. Republished in Spanish translation (by the author) as “Vicente Pou: analista político carlista temprano,” Razón Española (Madrid, Spain), 55 (Sept.-Oct. 1992): pp. 181-190.
  • “Carlism's Defense of the Church in Spain, 1833-1936,” Faith & Reason (Christendom College), XVI, 4 (Winter 1990): pp. 355-370.
  • “Magín Ferrer: un pensador carlista renovador olvidado,” in Estudios de historia moderna y contemporánea. Homenaje a Federico Suárez Verdeguer. Introd. by H.M. King Juan Carlos I. Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, 1991, pp. 491-499.
  • “El desarrollo de la ideología carlista,” 1833-1876, in Las Guerras Carlistas. A. Bullón de Mendoza, ed (Madrid: Universidad Complutense and Editorial Actas, 1993): pp. 43-59.
  • “Antonio Aparisi y Guijarro: A Nineteenth-Century Carlist Apologist for a Sacral Society in Spain,” in Saints, Sovereigns and Scholars. Studies in Honor of Frederick D. Wilhelmsen. R. Herrera et al., eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 1993), pp. 365-375. Also published in Spanish translation (by Luis Infante) as "La conciencia social del escritor y senador carlista Antonio Aparisi y Guijarro. Aportes (Revista de Historia Contemporánea), (Madrid), VII, 20 (July-Oct. 1992): pp. 24-30.
  • “Pedro de La Hoz: crítico carlista del parlamentarismo en el reinado de Isabel II,” in Racionalismo. Homenaje a Fernández de la Mora. Á. Maestro, ed. (Madrid: Fundación Balmes, 1995), pp. 301-307.
  • “The Theory of Spanish Political Traditionalism (1810-1875): Realism and Carlism,” in Identidad y nacionalismo en la España contemporánea: El Carlismo (1833-1975). Jornadas organizadas por la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison y la Fundación Hernando de Larramendi. S. G. Payne, ed. (Madrid: Editorial Actas, 1996), pp. 44-54. Also published in Spanish in the same book as "La Teoría del tradicionalismo político español (1810-1875): Realismo y Carlismo": pp. 33-43.
  • “María Teresa of Braganza, Portuguese Princess of Beira, Wife of the Pretender Carlos V,” in Mediterranean Studies VI. B. F. Taggie et al., eds. (Kirkville, MO: Thomas Jefferson University Press, 1996), pp. 79-101.
  • “María Beatrice di Austria-Este Savoia y la formación intelectual de su hijo mayor, el pretendiente Carlos VII,” Aportes (Revista de Historia Contemporánea) (Madrid), XIII, 36 (1/1998): pp. 69-86.
  • "Siguiendo los pasos de la Princesa de Beira por los Pirineos." El Boletín Carlista de Madrid, 53 (Sept. 2000). No pagination.
  • “Carlism: From Reaction to Counterrevolution, 1833-1876,” in Spanish Carlism and Polish Nationalism: The Borderlands of Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. M.J. Chodakiewicz and J. Radilowski, eds. (Charlottesville, VA: Leopolis Press, 2003), pp. 9-23. Republished in Polish translation (by Marciej Jablónski) as “Karlism. Od reakcji do Kontrrewolucji, 1833-1876,” Glaukopis (Warsaw, Poland), 2/3 2005: 9-20. This publication in Warsaw includes 12 unnumbered pp. of illustrations in color.
  • “Francisco Javier de Lizarza Inda y la memoria histórica del Carlismo,” Aportes (Revista de Historia Contemporánea) (Madrid), XXII, 65 (March 2007): pp. 4-22.
  • “María Francisca de Braganza,” Diccionario biográfico español. (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 2010), v. IX, pp. 358-359.
  • “María Teresa de Braganza,” Diccionario biográfico español. (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 2010), v. IX, pp. 359-361.
  • Review of Mark Lawrence, The Spanish Civil Wars (London, Bloomsbury, 2017), Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and University of Glasgow, Scotland), XXV, 1 (2018).
  • “The Adventures of a Stateless Prince: Xavier of Bourbon Parma,” Aportes. Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid): XXXIV, 100 (Feb. 2019): pp. 181-238.

During her years at UD, Dr. Wilhelmsen gave over eighty-five lectures and scholarly presentations in many countries in America and Europe at universities, academic gatherings, cultural institutions, clubs, and churches. She continues to lecture in retirement.

  • Luis Hernando de Larramendi Award (Madrid) in the Hernando de Larramendi Foundation's competition for book-length manuscripts in the history of Carlism, 1994. The award was for El Desarrollo del pensamiento político del Carlismo (1810-1875).
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1999
  • King Award, given by UD to a member of the faculty for "distinguished contributions to the excellence of the university," 2004.
  • Capitán Etayo Hispanidad Award, given by the Comunión Tradicionalista Carlista (Madrid), 2017.