Historical Research

Historical research is one of Hunter Research’s core skill sets. We employ expert researchers with decades of experience using original documents and on-line resources. Most projects that Hunter Research undertakes have a historical research component. We make a point to tailor our research approach to the specific needs of our clients and their requirements. As any good researcher knows, the first step is to understand the purpose of the research and how the results of that research will ultimately be used. This helps us to determine the level of effort and the types of historical resources to be gathered and analyzed. In all cases, Hunter Research strives to ensure that the gathered historical data is reliable and complete.

Hunter Research staff are especially knowledgeable of the various types of historical collections held by libraries, archives, historical societies, museums, governments, churches and universities in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. Interviewing local history experts and knowledgeable residents is also integral to much of our research and a task that our staff approaches with courtesy and respect. In recent years, the firm has developed a specialty in studying and documenting cemeteries, integrating research into genealogical sources and church records with modern mapping and database technology to compile burial-specific inventories and surveys.

Hunter Research is especially knowledgeable about historic maps and aerial photographs, which tend to be critical information sources for most cultural resource management projects. We are also skilled in establishing chains of ownership for individual properties extending back into the colonial period, and we routinely conduct genealogical research. We take special pride in how we present the results of our research with understandable and compelling graphics and charts.

Sample Projects Include:

Historic Resource Study: Integration of the Military at Floyd Bennett Field
Borough of Brooklyn, New York City

In 2018, under contract to the Gateway National Recreation Area unit of the National Park Service, Hunter Research embarked on a program of historical research and writing on the integration of the military at Floyd Bennett Field, a key component of Naval Air Station New York during World War II.  Continue

Historical Research and Interpretive Analysis in Support of a Visitor Readiness Analysis of Revolutionary War Sites in New Jersey
Statewide, New Jersey

In anticipation of the 250th commemoration of the Revolutionary War the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is assessing more than 140 historic sites in the State of New Jersey in terms of their visitor readiness.   Continue

Honey Hollow: Myth and Substance
Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey

In 2016-18 Hunter Research, working for the Mercer County Planning Department and Parks Commission, carried out in-depth historical research and field analysis to pinpoint the location of “Honey Hollow,” a landscape feature on Baldpate Mountain where a concentration of African-American settlement was reputed to have existed.  Continue

Historical and Archival Research, the Petty’s Island Preserve
Pennsauken Township, Camden County, New Jersey

In 2016-17, for the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, Hunter Research undertook historical research on the land use history of Petty’s Island, a roughly 300-acre island surrounded by tidal flats in the Delaware River between the cities of Philadelphia and Camden.  Continue

Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers History Books
Continuing the Mission: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  A History of the New York District, 1975-2005
Small District, Big Mission:  A History of the Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1980-2013

Mid-Atlantic and Midwest Regions

Hunter Research, together with historian Howard Green, wrote institutional histories of the New York and Chicago districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The company worked with and interviewed both civilian and military personnel in order to conduct the research necessary for both books, developing historic contexts that could be used to inform agency personnel and the public about the Corps’ contributions to both military engineering and civilian public works. Continue

Trenton in 1775 Mapping Project
City of Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey

In 2007-08, for the Trenton Historical Society, with grant assistance from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Hunter Research undertook a challenging and ambitious historical research and cartographic project: creating a detailed map of the town, its roads, dwellings and principal public buildings, along with a delineation of land ownership, on the eve of the American Revolution, right before the Battles of Trenton.  Continue