This society was one of the oldest in German-speaking lands. In 1670 the physician Israel Conradi (1634-1715) had tried to organize a society in Danzig, without success. Several others tried after him until the Privatdozent Daniel Gralath (1708-1767) finally succeeded. At the end of 1742 he had gathered a group of learned men for this purpose. Gralath was from a well-to-do Danzig trade family and he had studied in Marburg and Halle. Later he became councilman (Ratsherr) and mayor (Bürgermeister) of Danzig. His father-in-law was Jacob Theodor Klein (1685-1759), city secretary and also a very distinguished scientist. Klein's nickname was Gedanensium Plinius.
In 1845 the society was located in a Renaissance-era building at the Mottlau, an arm of the Weichsel River, next to the Frauentor Gate. In 1840 Alexander von Humboldt accompanied Prussian King Frederick William IV on the way to Königsberg, and von Humboldt received an honorary membership in the Gdansk Society. Later the society offered Humboldt stipends. The collections of the Society were displayed in the West-Prussian Provincial Museum at the Grüne Tor Gate.
After 200 years in existence, the society was destroyed in the 1945 Soviet take-over. The building at the Mottlau (now Motlawa) river was rebuilt and today houses the Gdańsk Archeological Museum.
A book was published by the society, by E. Schumann, titled: History of the Research Society in Danzig 1743-1892 (Geschichte der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Danzig 1743-1892).