At the 1924 International Congress of Mathematicians in Toronto, a resolution was adopted that at each ICM, two gold medals should be awarded to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement. Professor J. C. Fields, a Canadian mathematician who was secretary of the 1924 Congress, later donated funds establishing the medals which were named in his honor. Consistent with Fields's wish that the awards recognize both existing work and the promise of future achievement, it was agreed to restrict the medals to mathematicians not over forty at the year of the Congress. In 1966 it was agreed that, in light of the great expansion of mathematical research, up to four medals could be awarded at each Congress.