Ms Alexandra Penler

Ms Alexandra Penler

PhD Student

Department of International History

About me

Even before my undergraduate, I had a keen interest in history, working at my local historical society digitizing archives and graduating from the National Institute of American History and Democracy at the College of William and Mary. I did my undergraduate studies at Saint Mary's College (women's college affiliated with University of Notre Dame) where I received my BA in history and political science with a focus on international studies. During my undergraduate, I interned on Capitol Hill and at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History where I researched non-citizen voting, women's suffrage movement, the ERA and assisted the famed First Ladies exhibit. I then did my Master's at LSE in Empires, Colonialism and Globalization in the Department of International History looking at American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy in the Gilded Age. After LSE I worked in social media and communications for Unicef UK, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, AIDSFree (a USAID project on HIV/AIDS in Africa), and on the Fulbright Program for the Middle East where I developed an interest in Public Diplomacy. I am currently a first year PhD/ MPhil student.

Provisional Thesis Title

The Quiet Diplomat: Diplomat's Wives and the Origins of Public Diplomacy, 1924-1980.

My research focuses on rethinking the work of diplomat's wives in the 20th century. Before public diplomacy programs were created post World War II, many wives were involved in local communities, representing the U.S. government both official and unofficial, mostly unpaid. This research wants to examine their work and impact to see how they contributed to educational and cultural exchange, global health and aid, and the dissemination of information and propaganda through public and private events and meetings. It also looks at the social history of the wives, from the changes in marriage during the time period as well as the social classes they came from which impacted their education, experience and world views.

Expertise Details

Gender History; Cultural History; Diplomatic History; Social History; American History; Long 20th Century

Honours and scholarships


• Graduated from LSE Msc Empires, Colonialism and Globalization with Distinction
• Psi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Honors Society
• Phi Alpha Theta, Chapter Psi Lambda, National History Honors Society


• LSE PhD Studentship (2018-2022)