I found out that the symbol for union, ∪, was created in 1895 by Giuseppe Peano in his Formulario Mathematico but of course the use of the word "union" in mathematics was older. Do you have a source for the earliest occurrence?
Intersection and union. The symbols $\cap$ and $\cup$ were used by Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932) for intersection and union in 1888 in Calcolo geometrico secondo l'Ausdehnungslehre di H.Grassmann (Cajori vol. 2, page 298).
See page 2 :
- Colla scrittura $A \cup B \cup C \cup \ldots$ intenderemo la minima classe che contiene le classi $A, B, C,\ldots$, ossia la classe formata dagli enti che sono o $A$ o $B$ o $C$, ecc. Il segno $\cup$ si leggerà o; l'operazione indicata col segno $\cup$ chiamasi in logica disgiunzione; noi la diremo anche addizione logica; le classi $A, B,\ldots$ si diranno i termini della somma $A \cup B \cup \ldots$ [With the symbol $A \cup B \cup C \cup \ldots$ we mean the least class containing the classes $A, B, C,\ldots$, i.e. the class formed by the entities that are either $A$ or $B$ or $C$, etc. The symbol $\cup$ will be read "or"; the operation denoted by the symbol $\cup$ is named in logic disjunction; we will call it also logical sum; the classes $A, B,\ldots$ will be called terms of the sum $A \cup B \cup \ldots$.]
For the term, we have to search : W&R's Principia is still under Peano's influence; see page 27 : "Similarly the logical sum of two classes $\alpha$ and $\beta$ ..."
Some early occurrences are :
Felix Hausdorff, Set theory (Engl.transl (1957) of the 3rd German ed. 1937), page 18 : "If $A, B$, are two sets, then by their sum, or union ..." [but it is necessary to check on the earlier German editions.]
Waclaw Sierpinski, Algèbre des ensembles (1951), page 62 : "somme (ou réunion) des ensembles".