~TODAY IN HISTORY~
On May 31, 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U. S. copyright act.
In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.
In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.
In 1916, during World War I, British and German fleets fought the naval Battle of Jutland off Denmark; there was no clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.
In 1935, movie studio 20th Century Fox was created through a merger of the Fox Film Corp. and Twentieth Century Pictures.
In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).
In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
In 1970, a magnitude-7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.