In an exhibition on view here at the National Heritage Museum, The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts: Celebrating 275 Years of Brotherhood, there's a section devoted to the 26th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States that was held in Boston from August 27-30, 1895, featuring many objects related to (or created expressly for) this meeting of Knights Templar.
You might be thinking, "What's the big deal? Did anyone in Boston even notice this Conclave?" In fact, it was a huge event. Just read the NY Times account of the parade held on August 27, 1895 where they report that "Boston has seldom, if ever, been so elaborately decorated. Practically every building along the line of the march, besides many of the side streets, is clothed in color, with appropriate mottoes and Masonic emblems, intertwined with streamers and bunting."
Interested in learning a bit more about this event, I checked to see what we have in the library's collection. Not surprisingly, we have a few different publications that were published expressly for (and about) the 1895 Triennial Conclave. The Report of the Triennial Committee is perhaps one of the richest. It's the official report of all of the various activities that took place over those three days.
Here are just a couple of interesting excerpts, which, I think, give a flavor of the events:
Committee on Receptions: "One of the earliest arrivals was that of the California Commandery, which was enthusiastically hailed by the large throng which awaited its coming at the Union Station. They were cordially welcomed by the Committee, and the ladies conducted to carriages. The Commandery having mounted their horses were escorted to their headquarters by Boston Commandery, 360 strong, receiving a continual ovation along the line of the route."
Committee on Music: "The majority of the visiting commanderies, however, brought their best local bands with them...One hundred thirty-seven bands, besides numerous drum corps, were distributed throughout the line [of the parade]."
But perhaps photographs of the event, two of which can be seen here, give the best sense of what it was like to be there. The top photo above shows a crowd of parade-watchers on Washington St., waiting for the parade to pass by; the bottom photo shows the staff of the Chief Marshall as the parade passes through Copley Square. The photos seen here are from:
Report of the Triennial Committee of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templars of Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the 26th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States, held in Boston, Mass., August 27th-30th, 1895. [Privately printed, 1895].
Call number: 17.973 .U58
But if you really want to see photos, we've got a 500-page book (both too big and too fragile to scan), that goes a long way in documenting the events:
Mason, William A., ed. Photographic Souvenir: Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, 26th Triennial Conclave, held at Boston, Mass., Aug. 26-31, 1895. Boston : A.A. Rothenberg and Co., 1895.
Call number: 17.973 .U58 1895
Additionally, we have a number of postcards related to the 1895 Boston Conclave in our Duncan collection of postcards (MM 025) in the Archives.