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RyeGPT People of Note: Wonder Woman Creator & Polyamorous Resident William Moulton Marston

(PHOTO: Creator of superhero Wonder Woman and polyamorous Rye resident William Moulton Marston. From a 1938 advertisement for Gillette razor blades.)
(PHOTO: Creator of superhero Wonder Woman and polyamorous Rye resident William Moulton Marston. From a 1938 advertisement for Gillette razor blades.)

RyeGPT People of Note is a series highlighting individuals who have a connection to the City of Rye. In the series we ask OpenAI’s ChatGPT to prepare a biography and explain the individual’s connection to Rye.

We welcome your feedback on this series – the use of artificial intelligence, the accuracy and usefulness of each article and your assistance in understanding other pertinent insights related to the person’s connection to Rye.

You can add comments at the bottom of each article or you can send feedback via Tips & Letters.

Today, meet Wonder Woman creator and polyamorous resident William Moulton Marston.

(PHOTO: Wonder Woman for President #7 1943. Source: Heritage Auctions.)
(PHOTO: Wonder Woman for President #7 1943. Source: Heritage Auctions.)

William Moulton Marston was a multifaceted American psychologist, inventor, and writer, born on May 9, 1893, in Saugus, Massachusetts. He is perhaps best known as the creator of the iconic superhero Wonder Woman, a character who first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941. Marston’s creation was influenced by early feminists and suffragists, reflecting his progressive views on gender roles and equality.

Marston held degrees from Harvard University, including a B.A. in 1915, an LL.B. in 1918, and a Ph.D. in Psychology in 1921. His academic work contributed significantly to the development of the lie detector test, thanks to his theory that blood pressure changes could be linked to lying. This invention led to his lifelong interest in honesty, an ideal prominently featured in the Wonder Woman comics, where the character often uses her Lasso of Truth to reveal the truth.

In addition to his academic and creative pursuits, Marston led a unique personal life. He lived in a polyamorous relationship with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and Olive Byrne, a former student who lived with the couple in various locations, including Rye, New York. Both women significantly influenced his work and the development of Wonder Woman, with their feminist ideals and distinctive personalities being reflected in the character.

Elizabeth was a highly educated woman herself, holding a law degree and a master’s degree in psychology. She was instrumental in Marston’s work and is often credited with inspiring him to create a female superhero. Olive Byrne, who wore bracelets similar to those that would later be worn by Wonder Woman, also had a profound impact on Marston’s ideas about women and heroism. She was the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most prominent feminists of the twentieth century, which further infused feminist ideals into their household.

Marston’s connection to Rye, New York, was an integral part of his later years. He moved there in the early 1940s and continued his writing and creative work. The serene environment of Rye provided a stable home for his unconventional family and served as a quiet backdrop where he could focus on his various projects, including his contributions to comic books and psychology.

Marston’s life in Rye was relatively private, focusing on his family and work until his death from cancer in 1947. Despite his relatively short life, his legacy, particularly through Wonder Woman, continues to influence and inspire discussions on gender and justice worldwide.

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