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Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections: Far West Library of Howard H. Hays

About the Far West Library of Howard H. Hays

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 and materials at American Heritage Center, the papers of Howard H. Hays, provide a great resource for history on early National Park Service Concessions.

Brief History of Howard H. Hays

Library of Howard H. Hays bookplate.

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 concessionaire 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.