Nabokov invented the smiley in 1969!

Alden Whitman: How do you rank yourself among writers (living) and of the immediate past?

Vladimir Nabokov: I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile-- some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket, which I would now like to trace in reply to your question.

Nabokov's interview. (11) The New York Times [1969]