|Elizabeth Holloway Marston|
February 20, 1893
Isle of Man
|Died||March 27, 1993
|Other names||Sadie Holloway|
|Education||Mount Holyoke College (B.A. in Psychology 1915)
Boston University School of Law (L.L.B., 1918)
Radcliffe College (M.A. in Psychology 1921)
|Occupation||Editor, author, lecturer|
|Known for||Involvement in the creation of Wonder Woman and the systolic blood-pressure test|
|Spouse(s)||William Moulton Marston|
Elizabeth Holloway Marston (February 20, 1893 – March 27, 1993) was an American attorney and psychologist. She is credited, with her husband William Moulton Marston, for the development of the systolic blood-pressure test used to detect deception. She is also credited as the inspiration for her husband's comic book creation Wonder Woman, a character also fashioned on his live-in mistress, Olive Byrne.
Marston was born Sadie Holloway in the Isle of Man and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of an English mother, Daisy, and William George Washington Holloway, an American bank clerk. She received her BA in psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 1915 and her LLB from the Boston University School of Law in 1918, where she was "one of three women to graduate from the School of Law that year."
Both William and Elizabeth joined the psychology department at Harvard, with William in the doctoral program and Elizabeth the master's program at Radcliffe College. Elizabeth worked with William on his thesis, which concerned the correlation between blood pressure levels and deception. He later developed this into the systolic blood-pressure test used to detect deception that was the predecessor to the polygraph test.
In 1921, William received his PhD from Harvard and Elizabeth her MA from Radcliffe. Although Elizabeth is not listed as William's collaborator in his early work, a number of writers refer directly and indirectly to Elizabeth's work on her husband's deception research. She also appears in a picture taken in his polygraph laboratory in the 1920s, reproduced in a 1938 publication by William.
Marston's career included indexing "the documents of the first fourteen Congresses, lectured on law, ethics, and psychology at American and New York Universities, [and] served as an editor for Encyclopædia Britannica and McCall's. In 1933, she became the assistant to the chief executive at Metropolitan Life Insurance.
William had children with both Elizabeth and his live-in mistress, Olive (Elizabeth eventually legally adopted Olive's children). While Olive stayed home to raise the children, Elizabeth supported the family when William was out of work, as well as after his death in 1947. Both Olive and Elizabeth "embodied the feminism of the day."
Our Towns reveals the true identity of Wonder Woman's real Mom. She is Elizabeth Holloway Marston. She's not 1,000; she's 99 come Thursday [...] One dark night as the clouds of war hovered over Europe again, Mr. Marston consulted his wife and collaborator, also a psychologist. He was inventing somebody like that new Superman fellow, only his character would promote a global psychic revolution by forsaking Biff! Bam! and Ka-Runch! for The Power of Love. Well, said Mrs. Marston, who was born liberated, this super-hero had better be a woman [...] Wonder Woman was created and written in the Marstons' suburban study as a crusading Boston career woman disguised as Diana Prince [...] Meanwhile, in a small Connecticut town, Wonder Woman's Mom has disguised herself as a retired editor who lives in postwar housing.
Her 1993 obituary also stated that she contributed to the development of Wonder Woman, while Lillian S. Robinson argued that both Olive Byrne and Elizabeth were models for the character.
Marston died on March 27, 1993, just a month after her 100th birthday.
Marston's life is depicted in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a fictional biographical drama also portraying her husband William Moulton Marston, Olive Byrne, and the creation of Wonder Woman. Marston is portrayed in the film by British actress Rebecca Hall.
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