Who said the serif?

I am reviewing citations and references for some of my writing and I find myself at a surprizing loss; after reviewing my entire library, some internet, and even a discussion at Typophile I discover that I am unable to come up with a single a typographic reference that supports the claim that “serifs are easier to read than sans” (there are plenty of scientists researching this).

Starting with:

Patterson, D. G., Tinker, M. A. (1932a). Studies of typographical factors influencing speed of reading: X. Style of type face. Journal of Applied Psychology, 16(6), 605–613.

I find that they reference:

Roethlin, B. E. (1912). The Relative Legibility of Different Faces of Printing Types. American Journal of Psychology, 23, 1–36.

Who in turn references:

Koopman, H. L. (1909). Scientific Tests of Types. The Printing Art, XIII, 81-83.

This goes on for some time getting into French and German at which point I stop. A friend of mine shows me a literature review by Alex Poole, but these are all scientific studies questioning the convention. Obviously, if so many people are researching this convention, it had to start somewhere. Equally as obvious, it has to predate scientific investigation.

Who was the first typographer to say “serif’s are easier to read than sans?”

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