Hear from the Granddaughter of a Real-Life Inspiration for Wonder Woman

Photo via Getty.
Photo via Getty.

When William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman back in 1941, the references for the superhero included suffragettes and pin-up artists (for which Marston had an affinity.) But Marston’s granddaughter writes that his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston was also an inspiration for the iconic character.

When the Hollywood Reporter asked Christie Marston what her grandfather would think of the new Wonder Woman movie, she replied that “it is my grandmother who really matters in the ‘what would they think’ line of thought.”

“Always positive, always moving forward, never letting obstacles decide her life for her. Gram and Wonder Woman have always been one in the same to me,” writes Marston in an essay published on the site. “And Gram would approve wholeheartedly with Wonder Woman getting out there and inspiring new generations.”


Elizabeth Holloway Marston was born in 1893, and studied psychology and law. After trying to go to Harvard, which would not admit women at the time, she ended up going to Boston University. She obtained three degrees, which she paid for herself when her father refused to give her tuition. After graduating she and her husband developed a systolic blood pressure test used to detect deception, which inspired Wonder Woman’s truth-telling lasso. Later, Marston would edit for Encyclopedia Britannica and McCall’s magazine. They also lived a wildly unconventional life for their time, as writer Jill Lepore has chronicled—living for decades with Olive Byrne, a woman who was effectively their third parter, who was Margaret Sanger’s niece and, it’s worth noting, also wore a pair of bracelets that looked a lot like Wonder Woman’s.

“Gram and I spent many, many hours together discussing all the good and bad in the world,” Marston writes. “Always—always—it came down to fair play and encouraging good people to work harder for themselves and for others. Wonder Woman... some things never change!”

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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It’s obvious and sad and bears repeating: there have been a lot of amazing women who we will never hear about because only men were allowed to keep track.