You won't find the names of that husband-wife team of presidential advisers, Peter Bourne and Mary King, in the new edition of The Social List of Washington , or "green book," due out next month. But a new publisher's name will appear for the first time. She's Jean Shaw Murray, 50, who has decreed that "The Social List does not try to roll with the social waves, and if society wants to go you-know-where, well, we're not going with it."
As Washington's social arbiter, Mrs. Murray follows in the footsteps of her grandmother, who began the green book in 1930, and her mother, Carolyn Hagner Shaw, who took over the annual publication in '43. A secret board of four people pass on the addition of names to the book (about 600 out of 900 new applicants will make it into the '78 edition) and subscribers (at $30 a year) may call Mrs. Murray's Georgetown office for protocol assistance. Mrs. Murray's mother once had to advise a worried widow that, yes, her dead husband could be buried before 6 p.m. even though he was wearing (at his request) white tie and tails.
Most of Mrs. Murray's callers, some forty a day, seek help with life's more mundane problems such as which ambassador or senator sits below the salt. From time to time even the White House gives her a ring. If asked, she will explain that leisure suits are an affront to civilization, as is the title "Ms." And she refuses to list a woman she thinks should be known as "Mrs. Peter Bourne" as "Mary King" with the same home address as her husband; Mrs. Murray fears someone will think the two are living together out of wedlock, a faux pas far worse than a messy divorce - which can also cause a person's name to be excluded from the green book.
A Catholic upbringin by a mother who once wrote a syndicated column called "Modern Manners" has charged Mrs. Murray with a certain responsibility for maintaining standards. It may be heartbreak time for those names who don't make the book - one doctor's wife grew frantic when she found that failing to answer a questionnaire had kept her out of one year's edition - but Mrs. Murray explains her traditions stretch back to the days of her grandmother and Herbert Hoover.
"Presidents come and go," she says. But protocol perseveres, and all decisions of Jean Shaw Murray are final.