Carolyn Hagner (Callie) Shaw, 73, publisher of The Social List of Washington, considered by many to be one of the most important books in the nation's capital, died Wednesday at her home in Georgetown.

"The Green Book," as it is known, has been a must for years in the homes or offices of those who are listed in it as well as those who hope to be in it some day.

Mrs. Shaw, who was known as "the social arbiter of Washington," took over publication of the book in 1943 after the death of her mother, Helen hay Hagner, who had founded it in 1930.

Mrs. Hagner had been a socil leader in Washington during the Woodrow Wilson years. Her parents were pillars of early Capital society. Her sister-in-law, Isabelle Hagner, had started the White House fad for social secretaries by serving as a social secretary during the Theodore Roosevelt administration.

Mrs. Shaw was as well versed in protocol as her mother. She had served during the 1930s as social secretary to such leading social figures here as the late Evelyn Walsh McLean, Mrs. Joseph Leiter and Eleanor (Cissy) Patterson.

From its inception, "The Green Book" was divided into three parts: the "cave dwellers" composed of old-time Washingtonians: the purely social, who might or might not be blue-blooded, and officialdom.

There were few problems in the earlier days. The "cave dwellers" maintained their status quo unless a couple became estranged, whereupon the partners were automatically dropped until they actually became divorced or got back together.

Unpleasant notoriety or a nasty divorce case also could result in exclusion from the social list.

The constant changes in this transient city were taken in stride and members of the military, diplomatic corps, the administration and Congress moved in and out with a ripple.

But the number of transients in official Washington enlargedsand the problem because more acute of who should be included and who should be left out of the book. In addition, the makeup of what could be called society changed considerably.

In an interview in The Washington Post in 1972, Mrs. Shaw described the changes in this way.

"In the old days, there was society and then there were the many social climbers. But today there is no real society, I've met many for the wrong side of the tracks whose parents taught them manners.People who came up from nothing and made good in politics or business, some of them are in the Green Book. Family background, clubs, blood, those things are not as important as they were."

Each year, after a new edition came out, there was a frantic dash to purchase it and find out who was included. As a result, many people had very fond feelings for Mrs. Shaw. And many hated her, and blamed her for ruining their lives and their careers.

The ins showed the fondness, the outs did the name-calling. But in later years a great many displayed in differnce, whether genuine or put on.

Mrs. Shaw herself took the reactions in stride. She found it amusing that some people thought she was a snob who hobnobbed only with society figures.

She insisted that the decisions on who was in or out of her book were made by a committee of three women and one man, but she always refused to identify them. Some people claimed her committee was mythical and she made the decisions herself. She denied it.

She also stressed that she had not been active socially for many years. In 1963, she suffered a spinal cord injury in an automobile accident. Her work was done at her home with the help of three women staff members.

Mrs. Shaw said she herself never understood why there was so much concern over "The Green Book."

"Society is really not particularly important," she declared. Neither she nor any member of her immediate family was listed in the book.

But in earlier years, she had taken social matters seriously enough to write a column, "Modern Manners," in The Washington Star, which was syndicated by King Features. in 1958, she published a book of the same title.

And she always pleasantly answered the many telephone and written queries she received on matters of protocol.

Mrs. Shaw was born in San Diego, Calif. Her father was Navy Commodore Thomas I. Hagner, and she spent much of her youth in Hawaii.

At the time of her death, her only club memberships were listed as the Washington Press Club and the American Newspaper Women's Club.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, John F. Shaw, both of Washington: a brother, Thomas Ray Hagner, of Florida, and 10 grand-children.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Children's Hospital, the Washington Animal Rescue League or the Tail Waggers Club.