Most sources do give Seuss credit, but it may just have been a nonce word much like "nurkle" in the previous line. Some had tried to make his use connected with a "gnurd" or some such being used at MIT at the time.
The OED's first cite of the word is from Newsweek in 1951:
quote:1951 Newsweek 8 Oct. 28 In Detroit, someone who once would be called a drip or a square is now, regrettably, a nerd.
This is clearly the current term as opposed to the Seuss example, which may just be a coincidence.
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