ABRAM PACKER HAYS, JR., Secretary & TreasurerAbram Packer Hays, Jr. is the son of Abram Packer Hays, Sr. and Elizabeth Prugh Hays of Munhall and Pittsburgh, PA, the grandson of Captain William Seward Brenneman Hays of Munhall, and the great grandson of Captain Abraham Hays of Munhall.
As a child and teenager, he remembers well visits to Harden Place with his parents and two sisters. The Hays Homestead in its antiquity, size and mysterious passages made an indelible impression upon him.
At age 83, he regrets to this day that he and his two sisters, one now deceased, could not have acquired the property and preserved its superb historic recognition as a bastion of the Abolitionist Movement in America prior to the Civil War.
Like his father, uncle and a son, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA. After college he turned to journalism as a career, quickly rising to the position of Editor of a daily newspaper in the Monongahela Valley. In the 1950s he was, according to United Press International, the youngest newspaper editor in Pennsylvania. After marrying Lalla Pearson Hays, a Navy Admiral’s daughter, he turned to a career in corporate public relations. He twice was elected president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and worked for two of the largest fully integrated-operational natural gas companies in the Mid-Atlantic States, headquartered at Pittsburgh and New York. He received several National PRSA Awards, American Gas Association PR Committee Chairmanships and Awards, and Wall Street-affiliated awards for corporate financial publications.
Hays retired in the mid 1970s to Paradise Valley, AZ. As a youth, he had spent many summers with relatives in the Flagstaff area. In 1976, he founded Arizona West Galleries, Inc. in Scottsdale where he still spends time with a son, Gregory P. Hays, as president, and an associate, Jenna Gifford. He has had a collecting interest in Western Art, Artifacts and History since his early days in Arizona during the 1930s-1940s.
He and the Gallery have been very active in providing touring exhibitions of art and artifacts. The Hays’ have loaned and assisted to more than 50 Museums in 14 states and Canada, both with art and artifacts and, at times, the two in combination. In addition to 15 Museums in Arizona that they have benefited, there are 9 Museums in California, one in Georgia, one in Indiana, three in Montana, one in Nebraska, four in Nevada, four in New Mexico, two in New York, four in Oklahoma, one in Tennessee, three in Texas, three in Utah, and four in Wyoming. There are 85 instances of their involvement with 58 institutions in the U.S. and two in Canada.
The Hays Family has major collections of the following: The Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau, Maynard Dixon (1874-1946), Carl Oscar Borg (1879-1947), Gunnar Widforss (1879-1934), Will James (1892-1942), Lon Megargee (1883-1960), and several other accredited and historic Western artists.
A major interest has also been their loan of 1,500 Western artifacts to Arizona Museums. Abram serves on the executive committee of the Scottsdale Museum of the West, the National Advisory Board of the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT, and has served in various capacities at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum of Wickenburg, Arizona. He has written and lectured widely and serves Museums, Art Galleries, Auction Houses, and Clients as an authenticator and appraiser of Western art.
Abe and Lalla have three children James Harden Hays, Gregory Pearson Hays and Elizabeth Hays Noyd all residing in the Scottsdale area.