Carol Braider, who with her husband ran a shop in East Hampton in the 1950s called the House of Music and Books and an art gallery that showed work by artists such as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and Franz Kline, died on March 16 of heart failure at home in Red Hook, N.Y. She was 87.
Carolyn (Carol) Newton and David Braider were married on June 23, 1946. The couple first settled in Los Angeles, but moved to Greenwich Village in 1948. Two years later, they came to Sag Harbor. Ms. Braider was pregnant at the time but in an interview with The Star in 1987 said she “didn’t want to push a baby carriage.”
Instead, the couple opened the music store in a former plumbing shop that once stood next to Clinton Academy on Main Street. They later moved their store next to the old Edwards movie theater, and the couple moved as well, to Accabonac Road in East Hampton and eventually to an apartment over the store.
“We were like rolling stones. We were so on the move. I’m still ready to pack up and go. I’ve kept my roots in burlap,” she said.
“Our pride was that there wasn’t any subject you couldn’t come and find something about,” she told The Star. But the store was about more than simply earning a living. It became a gathering place for artists, writers, and fishermen, and also sold pots and pans, handmade toys, and even food. Mr. Braider was the author of 18 books. “Between us, we had a great deal of imagination,” Ms. Braider said.
The Braiders established their art gallery in a roofed carport behind their first store. Considered avant-garde, she said the gallery had no security at all and nothing was insured, but there was “no thief around who was smart enough.”
She was born to Edward Swift Newton and the former Ethel Jennings on Dec. 9, 1925, and grew up in Daylesford, Pa. She attended the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, graduating in 1941, and drove an ambulance in Philadelphia during the war.
The couple closed the store in 1957, and continued their rolling stone ways, living in Cooperstown and Clinton in New York State and moving at one point to Ireland. In 1973, Ms. Braider had a book of her own published, “The Grammar of Cooking.”
Mr. Braider died in 1976, on their 30th wedding anniversary. After his death she moved back to the East End, remaining here for several years. At the time of her 1987 interview, she described herself as a caterer of sorts. “I just do what I used to do for myself. I can’t entertain as one person, so I go and make it possible for other people to entertain.”
Reflecting on what life was like in East Hampton in the 1950s, she said, “It was more of a family place. East Hampton had not yet become part of ‘the Hamptons.’ ” She spoke, however, about the heavy drinking in the art community at the time. “We thought we were all marvelous, and we were so arrogant that I could blush. I think we thought we were having a ball, until it all blew up.”
Ms. Braider is survived by two sons, Christopher Braider of Boulder, Colo., and Jackson Braider of Boston. A daughter, Susan Braider of Red Hook, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren also survive, as do three sisters: Josephine Carothers of Salem, Mass., Audrey Middleton of Horse Heaven, Ore., and Babette Walton of Hilton Head, S.C. The couple’s first-born child, Peter, died at the age of 6 months in 1958.
A private service was held in Cooperstown.