Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. He settled in England in 1915 and published his first book of poems in 1917. In 1925 he became co-director of Faber and Gwye-later to become Faber and Fabe-who remain his publishers to this day. Throughout the 1930s he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffelees and many other cats, under the name of ‘Old Possum’, and included them in letters to his godchildren. In 1939 they were collected and published as Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats with cover illustrations by Eliot himself. They have since been republished with illustrations by Nicolas Bentley and Edward Gorey. In 1981 Eliot’s poems were set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as Cats, which went on to become the longest running Broadway musical in history.