This puzzle is about a photo of Edward Otto Stoessel (1904-1996) taken in his office. Presumably, he was employed by the Pure Oil Company at the time since he is obviously in a private office and Pure is the only company he worked for in which he was a manager. He worked at Pure (later acquired by Union Oil of California) from 1925-1969. The photo shows a wall calendar that ought to be a big help in dating the photo. I scanned the photo at 800 dpi and zoomed in on the calendar. The calendar clearly states the date as Wednesday, April 15, 19?? where the two question marks represent the puzzle. I am uncertain about the last two digits of the year.
Well, Wednesday, April 15, 19?? can only be 1925, 1931, or 1942. I didn't check to see if the third digit could be a 5 because I don't believe the photo even remotely suggests a 5. Maybe you disagree. The image below shows the general picture in case the surroundings, clothing style, etc. may give you a clue. The close up of the calender is shown at full 800 dpi resolution when viewed on your computer screen. I can't see it any better than you can. I present the close up in two forms: (1) as is, just enlarged; and (2) image sharpening applied with Photoshop "Smart Sharpen" algorithm.
My best guess is that the year shown on the calendar is 1942. I don't really like it, but it makes the most sense to me because of his career path and 1942 is the most likely year given that path.
What do you think? Let me know. If you need my email address, please click on the contact us link to fill out a form and send me an email.
Here are the images:
The "big picture"
Basic calender enlargement
Sharpened image of the wall calendar (gray scale). What is the year?