Vail’s Travail

Glenna Whitley’s story about Dmitri Vail’s nightmare in his last few years of life brought back memories of our association in the ’50s and ’60s. He was an eccentric artist, but we overlooked those eccentricities because of his love and enthusiasm for the city of Dallas.

My association with D’ (his name in the Chamber) began when he and I were active in the Dallas Chamber of Commerce Membership Committee. He was a cheerleader, pusher and cajoler for the committee and all programs that would enhance our city. He had the same fire and spirit of Mayor Bob Thornton toward making Dallas a great city.

I remember his paintings hanging in the foyer of the Holiday Inn on Central Expressway and at the State Fair of Texas. I remember visiting his studio and working with him in the Chamber.

I am proud to have known D’ personally and will remember him as he was during his good years.



I am writing to commend Glenna Whitley and D Magazine for having the courage to expose the scandal that plagued artist Dmitri Vail in his final years.

Unfortunately, there are those practicing law who do not see their profession as one of working ethically within the proper bounds of the judicial system but merely as a search for hapless victims.



Strike One!

I presume it was a typesetter (and not Chris Tucker) who renamed the legendary double play combination “Tinker, Evans and Chance,” on page 104 of the April issue.



Editor’s note: We can’t blame the typesetter. It should have read Tinker, Evers and Chance.

Taliaferro Responds

The article in the December D states flatly that I was “defrocked” for “occult teachings.” This is unqualifiedly and patently not true, as documents in the church archives will show.

On November 1, 1962, I resigned from 17 years as founder and rector of St. Michael and All Angels Church in order to be free to counsel, write, lecture and study. Even before the resignation I had begun to seriously question my vocation as a priest. The bishop and I were in constant communication concerning this matter.

The matter of “vocation” came to a crisis point when, because 1 had no altar to celebrate Christmas Eve 1964, I decided to celebrate in the Unitarian Church Chapel. This was and had been a common practice for ages, that when a church altar was not available, a temporary altar and place was permitted and encouraged. However, I received a telegram before the service from Bishop McCrae commanding me to cease and desist, because I would cause “grave scandal.”

Realizing after the service that I was at an impasse, 1 further questioned my usefulness as a priest in the church, and concluded that I had no alternative to the renunciation of the priesthood. I therefore wrote a letter of renunciation to Bishop Mason on February 12, 1965. I asked to be deposed in order to start another work either in another denomination or in a Community Church. The bishop consented to my request.

Full-time counseling and lecturing and writing was not sufficient to fulfill my vocation to minister to people. After considerable thought, I called a meeting of more than 50 persons who were interested in starting a Christian Community Church, non-denominational, dedicated to the study of world religions.

I was notified that by canon law I had six months to change my decision, after which, if I did not, I would be deposed and excommunicated from the Episcopal Church according to the provisions of Canon 62. 1 was formally deposed on September 23, 1965.

There was at no time any question of heretical teachings. There was never a hint of the teaching of “occultism.”


A photo caption in the story referred to “occult teachings.” D regrets the misunderstanding created by that caption.


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