Started in 1948, its goal as an expository seminar was clear from the start: the very first exposé was by H. Cartan on the work of Koszul rather than on his own results, and many recent advances were presented at the seminar (e.g. the same year Pisot reviewed the elementary proof of the PNT by Selberg and by Erdős).
The first issues regroup several years, and in 1968 things settled on the current format : 4 sessions during the academic year, held in november, january, march, and june. The year 2014-2015 is its 67th year, and will end with the 1103th exposé. One can notice the following :
- first exposé by someone not holding an academic position in France : Eilenberg in 1950
- first exposé in a language other than french : Tate in 1957 quickly followed by Harish-Chandra
- most cited exposé : according to Google Scholar (if I got it right) it is Grothendieck’s 1955 Produits tensoriel topologiques et espaces nucléaires
- first exposé by a woman : apparently in June 1968 took place an exposé by Claire Delaroche jointly with Kirillov (no idea whether both spoke), and for a woman alone it occured in november 1969 with Michèle Vergne
- were the work of all the Fields Medalists the topic of a seminar prior to the ICM announcements ? Nearly so, up to 1994 the only exceptions seem to have been (unless mistaken) Roth-F58 (but reviewed in the Dubreil seminar in 1956), Cohen-F66 (reviewed in november after the ICM), and Zelmanov-F94 (never reviewed!?).