Originally meetings of Knights Templar were called conclaves and those of the national organization, Grand Conclaves. In the United States, these meetings or conventions are now called commandery, Grand Commandery, and Grand Encampment.
In the collections of the VGW Library and Archives is an example of the use of the older term conclave. In 1880, the Knights Templar Twenty-first Triennial Conclave took place in Chicago, Illinois. We hold a copy of the Daily Illustrated Conclave Souvenir published by P. W. Barclay & Company (MA 001.065). These souvenirs were produced every day during the conclave—August 16 through 19, 1880. They gave a description and featured engraved illustrations of what had happened the previous day during the Chicago Conclave. Our copy of the August 18, 1880 souvenir gives details about August 17, 1880. Each copy cost 10 cents in 1880.
On August 17, 1880, the Knights Templar had their Grand Parade and Review by the Most Eminent Grand Master, Vincent L. Hurlbut. Then the procession headed toward Lake Michigan to Lake Front Park where the Sir Knights had laid out tents for their lodging during the conclave (upper left). In the afternoon, excursions aboard steam vessels had been arranged. Later that evening there was a Grand Musical and Dancing Reception at the Grand Exposition Building (shown below).
The Daily Illustrated Conclave Souvenir also includes short articles about the decorations put up by Knights Templar in the city of Chicago, competitive drilling or marching, and important Knights Templar of the time period including Albert Pike, Albert Mackey, and Robert Morris. There are also many other illustrations, including the dining room facilities in the Grand Exposition Building, and various views of the Grand Parade.
A couple of books from our library collection that might be of interest are:
Brown, William Moseley. Highlights of Templar History. Greenfield, Indiana: William Mitchell Printing Co., 1944.
Call number: 14.5 .B881 1944
Carson, Enoch Terry. History of the Organization of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States in 1816. Dayton, Ohio: Press of the Groneweg Printing Co., 1895.
Call number: 17.973 .U58k C37 1895