1950: American children’s writer Theodor Geisel, alias Dr. Seuss, coined the name “nerd” for a tousle-haired, grumpy-looking creature in If I Ran the Zoo:
I’ll sail to Ka-Troo
and a PROO
and a SEERSUCKER, too!
Source: Dr. Seuss, If I Ran the Zoo (2000), pp. 48–9