Kevin Royal Johnson
Kevin Royal Johnson founded Royal Books in 1996. He is originally from Arkansas, got an Engineering degree at Vanderbilt University, and after 15 years working for the government in DC, decided to move to Baltimore and do something more interesting. Royal Books originally operated on the fourth floor of a giant building that produced chemical sealant for underground pipes, and in 2002 made a permanent move to its present, more proper location on 25th Street.
Kevin has authored two books on the first edition sources for American film noir, The Dark Page (1940-1949) and The Dark Page II (1950-1965), both published by Oak Knoll Press. In 2012 he curated an exhibit of rare cinema-related photographs at the American Film Institute titled Behind the Fourth Wall: Actors and Directors on the Set 1926-2001.
His third book, The Celluloid Paper Trail: Identification and Description of Twentieth Century Film Scripts is due to be published by Oak Knoll Press in late July 2019 (pre-orders can be made here).
Kevin likes pimiento cheese sandwiches toasted on one side, a pint of beer at 6PM or as soon thereafter as possible, and spending as much time as possible with his gal Nancy and their two highly untrained beagles Kirby and Twizzler. He enjoys watching movies in a fashion that might be described as autistic, organizing information for purposes that remain mysterious, reading comics and comic strips published prior to 1979, studying film history, and avoiding film criticism. He and Nancy and pups reside happily on a quiet hill at the northwestern edge of Baltimore City, said by some to be unreachable unless you know the password.
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John McDonald’s origins are shrouded in mystery, but he was first sighted in upstate New Jersey in the 1970s, and with regularity in Baltimore since 2001, where, since 2008, he has been employed at Royal Books. In addition to cataloging, his confirmed duties include handling library and consignor accounts, buying, and attending book fairs. He has strong opinions on a number of topics, including sports (he’s for them), politics (he’s against them), and religion (actually, he doesn’t really have an opinion on religion). He says he’s a film buff, but what he really means is that he streams a lot of television shows online. He likes genre fiction, but likes fiction that mixes genres more. He finds realism overrated. He finds originality overrated. Also, attribution. He ain’t got time to bleed. He has been known to enjoy good beer, good whisky, and good food. He’s also been known to enjoy cheap beer, cheap whiskey, and cheap food every bit as much. He’s gone digital.
Amber Fricke is a Maryland gal borne and bred, and has worked Royal Books since August, 2005, originally as a shipping clerk, but soon finding great enjoyment from minor repairs to books. She then attended bookbinding workshops at Cat Tail Run Bindery to further her knowledge. She has also attended a workshop at Texas A&M, and has shadowed other bookbinders to further sharpen her skills. Currently her primary role is making clamshell boxes, book repair, and general conservation. Amber likes baseball and football, and can frequently be heard yelling back at AM radio sports talk shows in the bindery. She is a great mom, and due to her lengthy affiliation with Royal Books, enjoys her status here as éminence grise.
Kate Setzler hails from the wilds of Central Maryland, and has been the store’s production designer since 2014. She handles everything image related, including photography, design, website management, amusing photoshop collages, and most especially the creation of the quarterly color catalog. She likes natural history, medical illustration, and psychological crime fiction.
Tim Boniface was born and raised in Baltimore and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where his focus was primarily on mixed media drawing. He has managed book stores and art supply stores and has been a proficient technical illustrator. Today he focuses his energies on cooking, reading, listening to any and all music, and watching far too much television with his sweetheart of the last 20 years, Chris. An avid film lover, his ideal movie would be Carl Theodore Dryer’s Ordet cast with the characters of Alex Cox’s Repo Man (he claims it would work). He’s quite elated to find himself immersed in the books, scripts and ephemera here at Royal Books and promises to lovingly prepare your orders as though they were his own.
Ezra Broach was born in the swamps of Louisiana, but quickly found the cooler climes of the northern states irresistible. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Bard College, Ezra moved from New York to Baltimore, and now works for Royal Books as the front desk amanuensis and general store clerk, where she fills orders, catalogs, and serves as the first line of defense against an army of robocallers. Ezra enjoys antique clothing and makeup ephemera, natural wine, handmade dyes and textiles, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Ezra lives in Remington with a partner named Ryan and a three-pound chihuahua named Lula.
Jodi Feldman is originally from New Jersey, but most recently came to us from California. She moved to Baltimore in 2016 to escape the never-ending hamster wheel that is life in Los Angeles. She discovered a gift for math and administrative arts while volunteering at Maximum RocknRoll in the 90s and parlayed those gifts into being the Punk Rock secretary. She then parlayed those gifts into being the kooky art-lady accountant that she is now. She currently resides in Hampden with two totally adorable cats and enjoys spending the weekends with her totally adorable life-partner, Andy. She enjoys distractedly watching “things" with a book in one hand, usually with her glasses on top of her head. Her vision of a perfect film would be Bob Clark directing a Tarkovsky film or Tarkovsky directing Bob Clark movie. She likes early mornings, rock n roll radio, reading in bed, going to sleep before 9, and driving with the windows open. She doesn’t sit in chairs properly and always falls asleep in the movie theater. She also really loves to swim.