Ernest Fenollosa, an American academic, formerly of Tokyo University and curator of Oriental Art at Boston University, died in London in 1908. Among his papers was a collection of Chinese poetry with notes and draft translations which Fenollosa had been working on under the guidance of two Japanese scholars. In 1913 his widow Mary, discerning a connection between Pound's emerging imagism and her late husband's theories about Chinese poetry, made Pound literary executor of Fenollosa's papers. In this way the material upon which Cathay was based came into Pound's hands.
Pound's made a selection, according to Cathay's subtitle note “For the most part from the Chinese of Rihaku, from the notes of the late Ernest …
Wilson, Peter. "Cathay". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 December 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8993, accessed 22 July 2017.]