Want to learn more?

Publications by and about the Boston Little Syria initiative can be found here. The list of resources below is intended as a guide for those interested in reading, watching, and listening further. They include academic publications, family memoirs, blogs, oral histories, websites, videos, and digital archives. The focus is on material that relates to the Boston community from roughly the 1880s through the 1960s. Even so, the list is not comprehensive and we welcome suggestions.  


Abdou, Nagib. Dr. Abdou’s Travels in America and Commercial Directory of the Arabic-Speaking People of the World. New York, 1910.

Bawardi, Hani J. The Making of Arab Americans: From Syrian Nationalism to U.S. Citizenship. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014.

Boosahda, Elizabeth. Arab-American Faces and Voices: The Origins of an Immigrant Community. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003. (Worcester, Mass.)

Fahrenthold, Stacy D. Between the Ottomans and the Entente: The First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925. New York: Oxford U.P., 2021.

Gualtieri, Sarah. Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian-American Diaspora. American Crossroads. CA: University of California Press, 2009.

Hitti, Philip K. The Syrians in America. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1924.

Iben Snupin [Frederick Shibley]. Reeling Around. Boston: Journal Pub. Co., 1945.

Jacobs, Linda K. “Massachusetts,” in Strangers No More: Syrians in the United States, 1880-1900. Kalimah Press, 2019.

Kherbawi, Basil. The History of the United States and the History of Syrian Emigration (تاريخ الولايات المتحدة والمهاجرة السورية). New York: Al-Dalil, 1913. [In Arabic.]

Matar, N. I., ed. The United States through Arab Eyes: An Anthology of Writings (1876-1914). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018. 

Menconi, Evelyn Abdalah. The Coffeehouse Wayn Ma Kan Collection: Memories of the Syrian-Lebanese Community of Boston. West Roxbury, Mass.: William G. Abdalah Memorial Library, 1996.

Naff, Alixa. Becoming American: The Early Arab Immigrant Experience. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1985.

Sadd, Gladys Shibley. The Middle East, Its Wisdoms–Wit and Culture: My Legacy. Santa Clarita, Calif.: Glastebar Publishers, 1989.

Sadd, Gladys Shibley. True Love Stories. Santa Clarita, Calif.: Glastebar Publishers, 2000.

Shakir, Evelyn. Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1997. 

Shakir, Evelyn. Teaching Arabs, Writing Self: Memoirs of an American Woman. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch, 2014.

Younis, Adele Linda. “The Coming of the Arabic-Speaking People to the United States.” Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1961.

Articles & essays

Calling to Remembrance”: A series of essays researched and written by Fr. Timothy Ferguson, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, West Roxbury, for the church’s monthly newsletter (“The Messenger”)

Albrecht, Charlotte Karem . “Narrating Arab American History: The Peddling Thesis.” Arab Studies Quarterly 37 (2015): 100-117.

Barnet, Alison. “Iben Snupin: Fred Shibley and the Mid-Town Journal.” South End Historical Society Newsletter (Summer 2011). 

Benjamin, Laura. Fred Shibley–Tumbler and Sandblaster–Started a Newspaper and Was Bankrupted by Catholic Churches and Urban Renewal. Harvard Crimson. November 20, 1968.

Cole, William. “Immigrant Races in Massachusetts: The Syrians.” Boston: Dept. of Education, 1921. 

Giraldo, Kathering. “Boston’s Syriatown: Preserving Cultural Heritage through Religious Centers.” Medium. June 5, 2019. 

Samaha, Charles Malouf. “Kahlil Gibran and Faris Malouf: The Story of an Unsuccessful Venture, 1924-25,” from Faris Saleem Malouf (1892-1958)–A Voice in the Dark: One Man’s Arab American Activism. 

Shamon, Elias. “The Syrians and Lebanese in Massachusetts” [rare pamphlet]. 1934.

Stiffler, Matthew Jaber. “A Brief History of Arab Immigrant Textile Production in the US.” Arab American National Museum. October 2010. 


The Lost Syrian Neighborhood in Boston, Part 1.” “My Immigrant Parents Starting Over: From Damascus to Boston, Part 2.” “Starting New Life in America: A Syrian Refugee Story, Part 3.” Produced by Omar Duwaji. AJ+. March 10, 2017. 

United South End Settlements Oral Histories (Northeastern University Library): (1) Evelyn Abadalah Menconi, Jeannette Hajjar, Laurie Malooly (March 6, 1995); (2) Evelyn Haddad, Nicholas Haddad, Edmond Moussally (March 15, 1995)

Faris and Yamna Naff Arab American Collection, Smithsonian Institution – Oral Histories Digitized by the Arab American National Museum (conducted by Alixa Naff, 1962): (1) Assad Shabo (2) Ramza Abdelahad; (3) Joseph K.; (4) Skiyyie Saliba Samaha; (5) Charles Teebagy 

Canary Records – Digitized albums of early Arab-American music recordings: Russell Bunai, Star of the East: Arabic Songs in Massachusetts, 1948-1949; Tony Abdelahad, Philip Solomon, Mike Hamway, Arab-American Live Recordings, Vol. II: Boston in the 1960s; Najeeba Mourad, et al., Come On Honey: Arab​-​American Women ca. 1943​-​58

Deporting Ottoman Americans,” 13-part series from Ottoman History Podcast 

Websites, digital archives, & other resources 

Arab American National Museum Online Collections 

Moises A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies Digital Archive

Washington Street Historical Society (New York City): Touring App (also in Arabic)

Midwest Mahjar: The Recorded Sounds of the Arabic-Speaking Diaspora in the United States at 78rpm (blog)

Anton Abdelahad (website & recordings)

Atlascope: Exploring Historic Urban Atlases in Metropolitan Boston (Leventhal Map & Education Center)

Flaming Cheese Productions: Boston’s Nightclub Era of Belly Dance (website)

Global Boston (website)

Several institutions in and around Boston hold relevant collections that can be consulted on site. These include, among others, the records of the Lebanese Syrian Ladies’ Aid Society and Denison House at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute (Cambridge); the Boston City Archives; and the collected issues of the Mid-Town Journal at the Boston Public Library.