She was the daughter of railway worker Walter Henry Marsden (Hoyleton Stationmaster in 1912) and Annie Bradshaw. Her birthplace of Stockyard Creek is about 50 miles (80 km) north of Adelaide, South Australia and is now ruins.
Evelyn, who previously worked on board the ship RMS Olympic, signed-on to the RMS Titanic on 6 April 1912, and gave her address as 7 West Marlands Terrace, The Polygon, Southampton. She was 28 and single at the time and as a stewardess she was paid monthly wages of £3 10s. She assisted also as a nurse for the First Class passengers. There is mention of Evelyn in a letter by Mary Sloan to her sister on 27 April 1912, stating that they both were taken to Dr. Simpson's room for a little whiskey and water during the disaster. Dr. Simpson then hurried away and was never seen by them again. Evelyn and Mary escaped on Boat 16 which was lowered at 1.35 a.m. from the Port side by 6th Officer Moody. This boat held about 40 people with no incidents recorded while loading. They were in this boat all night until the RMS Carpathia picked them up, at about seven in the morning. George Robinson, the uncle of Evelyn Marsden was also noted as being aboard the Titanic.
As a youth, she learned to row a boat against the tides and currents of the Murray River while visiting a farm at Murray Bridge, South Australia. Evelyn worked as a Probationer Nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (then known as the Adelaide Hospital) between 15 January and 11 November 1907. Her salary was twelve pounds per annum and she was given apartment rations, fuel, light, and a uniform. From 8th May 1907 to 5th June 1907, Evelyn went on sick leave with full pay for about a month due to contracting gangrene of the finger whilst on duty. After the Titanic disaster she returned to that farm to thank the family for teaching her to row and handle a boat properly.
Following the Titanic tragedy she married Dr William Abel James, who had also worked for White Star Line. Arriving back in Australia at the Semaphore, South Australia anchorage on November 1912, her husband took up residence as a doctor in South Australia and they moved into a new apartment in Ruthven Mansions on Pulteney Street. Later they moved to Wallaroo, South Australia, living and working there for 15 months before finally moving to Bondi, Sydney, where her husband continued work as a Doctor. Everlyn died on 30 August 1938, with her husband passing away soon after and they were both buried at Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. They had no children.
Their grave was unmarked until 5 October 2000, when a headstone was finally erected on their gravesite.