William Marston, the man behind the world’s most popular female-led comic, was a feminist before most even knew what that meant.
The Wonder Woman creator championed women, worshipped them, even believed they were superior to men.
In fact, Marston loved women so much he had relationships with two of them, at once.
A psychologist with a PhD from Harvard University, Marston’s studies came at a time when the so-called First Wave Feminist movement was in full, sweeping swing.
Among those leading the push for was Margaret Sanger, a birth control activist who championed equality through female sexual autonomy. It was her philosophy that partly inspired Marston to take up his controversial three-way living and loving arrangement; himself, his wife Elizabeth Holloway, and Olive Byrne, a student from Tuft University, who happened to be Sanger’s niece.
According to The Atlantic, he simply came home one evening in 1926 and gave Holloway an ultimatum - Byrne joins us, or I leave.
And so the trio lived together in a sprawling home in Rye, New York, where there was, as Holloway later put it according to The Atlantic, “love making for all."
Holloway later claimed the arrangement was in fact the solution to the pervasive female dilemma: how to keep a home and a career. An accomplished psychology and law graduate, she chose the latter, while Byrne provided the former.
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But their little familial utopia existed entirely in secret.
To the outside world, Byrne was nothing more than a housekeeper, some kind of distant relative, widowed by a fictitious man named Mr. Richard.
The two children she had by Marston were even adopted by him and Holloway in 1935 in a bid to normalise the unconventional situation. The couple already had two children of their own, and according to their eldest, Moulton Marston, little was said or explained.
“The whys and wherefores of the family arrangements were never discussed with the kids—ever,” he told The New Yorker.
Marston died in 1947, leaving two deeply ironic legacies: the first, the lie detector test, which he and Holloway invented during their time at Harvard; the second, Wonder Woman, an Amazonian hero who wields - not uncoincidentally - a lasso of truth.
Yet with his death, his secret triangular family didn't dissolve.
In fact, Byrne and Holloway continued to live together for the rest of their lives, another 43 years.
Wonder Woman, who is finding new favour with a 2017 film, is said to be inspired by them both.