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The Portland Society of Natural History existed from 1843 to the early 1970s, when it was absorbed into the Maine Audubon Society. It counted among its members such notables as Commodore Robert E. Peary of North Pole fame, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and George L. Goodale, who established the renowned “glass flowers” exhibit at Harvard University. Twice the Portland Society was devastated by fire, in 1854 and 1866, but like the mythological phoenix, it rose again from the ashes because of the dligence of its devoted members. The Society's library and natural history collections were once on a par with those at Harvard, Yale, the Boston Society of Natural History, and the Essex Museum (Salem, MA). Featured within its hallowed walls were such diverse items as a specimen of the extinct passenger pigeon, the skeletal remains of a prehistoric walrus discovered in Maine, and a moon rock from the 1969 Apollo 10 space mission. Upon the Society's disbandment, its vast holdings of books, papers, and natural history materials were scattered to farflung places, many now unknown. This paper presents an overview of the Portland Society's history. The regrettable fate of its profound natural history collections is also documented. The author was personally involved in salvaging many of the Society's holdings for posterity, including a protrait of Alexander von Humboldt that now resides at the Maine Audubon headquarters in Falmouth, ME. This painting had originally been saved from the 1866 conflagration by then-curator Edward Sylvester Morse.