US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born Sept. 26: T.S. Eliot

September 26, 2015 03:30 AM

  • Born Sept. 26, 1888, poet and playwright T.S. Eliot was honored on a 22¢ stamp issued Sept. 26, 1986.

There are a number of United States stamps honoring individuals who were born in other countries, but who came to the United States and eventually took U.S. citizenship.

And then there is T.S. Eliot.

Thomas Sterns Eliot, one of the most famous poets of the 20th century, was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Sept. 26, 1888. He moved to England when he was 25 years old, and became a British citizen in 1927 at age 39.

It was after his emigration that he gained fame for his poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), The Waste Land (1922), and Four Quartets (1945).

Eliot also wrote essays and literary criticism, as well as several plays, including Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949), which won a Tony Award for best play.

After Andrew Lloyd Weber created the musical Cats, based on Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Eliot was posthumously awarded two more Tony Awards in 1983 for book and score.

The 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Eliot “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.”

His fame was such that he was featured on the cover of Time magazine's issue of March 6, 1950. He died of emphysema on Jan. 4, 1965.

T.S. Eliot is honored on a 22¢ stamp in the Literary Arts series that was issued Sept. 26, 1986.