Celebrity Names in San Joaquin County

Have you ever wanted to meet your doppelgänger, the person who supposedly looks just like you? I'm not convinced I have one, though a number of friends once told me that some guy in college looked just like me—from behind. How about meeting someone who shares your first and last names? That seems more likely, though my own names might be hard to match.

The original Robert (E.) Lee.

The original Robert (E.) Lee.

It turns out that quite a few people from San Joaquin County have shared names with celebrities. My friend and former colleague, Ed Wittmayer, made this discovery last year while arranging and scanning a collection of the Museum's photographs.

The nature of Ed's discoveries varied widely. From the world of sports, he found photographs of San Joaquin County residents named Pete Rose and Jerry Jones. Military and political names you might recognize included Robert Lee and Ted Kennedy. The largest number of celebrity names came from show business. Included among them were Willie Nelson, Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis, and Gary Cooper. Ed even discovered someone from San Joaquin County named Charles Brown. I can't help wondering whether Brown's circle of friends included Lucy, Schroeder, and Snoopy.

Other, non-celebrity names caught Ed's eye, too. I couldn't stop laughing when he shared with me the name of a woman from San Joaquin County who married "Mr. Wright." I truly hope they lived happily ever after—just like the man who married "Miss Wright." Shouldn't we all be so lucky choosing our own mates?

These and hundreds of other pictures come from a collection created by Ed Ehrhardt, a longtime Lodi resident and police officer. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Ehrhardt ran a photography business off duty that specialized in weddings, confirmations, and passport preparation. His children generously gave much of his collection to the San Joaquin County Historical Museum after his death, and there it remains.

Researchers are welcome to comb the Ehrhardt Photography Collection for other celebrity names or persons of interest. To make an appointment, which is required, send me a message at the following address: leighjohnsen@sanjoaquinhistory.org.

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