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Alexander McKay (1886?-1953) was born into the world of publishing. His father founded a successful Philadelphia firm bearing his name, David McKay Company, which published Walt Whitman's Specimen Days and Collect (1882-83) and the deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass (1891-92). Following the elder McKay's death in 1918, Alexander and his brother John took over the firm and ran it until it was sold in 1950. Under Alexander, David McKay Company published Christopher Morley's Travels in Philadelphia (1920) and The House of Dooner (1928). The firm also published children's literature, and it was Alexander McKay who urged Beatrix Potter to publish The Fairy Caravan (1929). In the 1930s, the firm began publishing comics in book form, including some of the first Walt Disney Mickey Mouse comics.
Lee Falk and Ray Moore's The Phantom (Philadelphia: David McKay Company, ca. 1936)
David McKay Company also published editions of Ace Comics and King Features Comics. The publisher's "Feature Book" series, which began in early 1937, sequentially reprinted comics that had first appeared in newspapers. As such, McKay's "Feature Books" served as an important precursor to the modern comic book. Feature Book 20, displayed here, reprints Lee Falk and Ray Moore's The Phantom.