In 2016 the personal western library of Howard H. Hays was donated to the Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections at University of Wyoming Libraries. His granddaughter, Sarah Hays, facilitated this donation on behalf of the family. This remarkable collection reveals the wide interest Hays had for the American West as well as the regions he operated businesses in. Works here, coupled with materials at American Heritage Center, provide a great resource for history on early National Park Service Concessions.
A native of Metropolis, Illinois, a young Howard H. Hays ventured west to Montana in 1905 to "seek healthful outdoor employment". Following a stint on a Gallatin Valley ranch, and looking ahead to the 1906 summer, Hays decided that he wanted to "spend a summer in the famous Yellowstone National Park before returning to the University of Illinois". Hays recalled that he was interested in Yellowstone and Bozeman, being home to William Wallace Wylie who had developed a system of Permanent camps throughout the park. Hays soon joined the Wylie operation and this opportunity launched the young Hays into a lifelong role as a national park concessioner and promoter of travel and tourism for America's scenic treasures. Throughout his career Howard H. Hays operated camps and transportation businesses in Yellowstone, Glacier and Sequoia/King's Canyon National Parks.
The papers of Howard H. Hays are located at the American Heritage Center. The scope of which is listed as:
The Howard H. Hays papers document Hays' business activities with Yellowstone Park Camps Company and Glacier Park Transport Company from 1902-1966. Significant materials include professional and business reports (1917-1954), legal contracts and agreements (1917-1955), personal correspondence (1916-62), photographs, printed materials (1905-1966), and scrapbooks (1905-1920).