Today's Highlight in History:
On June 27, 1966, the Gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows," having to do with mysterious and supernatural goings-on in Collinsport, Maine, premiered on ABC-TV.
On this date:
In 1787, English historian Edward Gibbon completed work on his six-volume work, "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
In 1844, Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.
In 1864, Confederate forces repelled a frontal assault by Union troops in the Civil War Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia.
In 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World was founded in Chicago.
In 1922, the first Newberry Medal, recognizing excellence in children's literature, was awarded to "The Story of Mankind" by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
In 1944, during World War II, American forces liberated the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.
In 1957, more than 500 people were killed when Hurricane Audrey slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy spent the first full day of a visit to Ireland, the land of his ancestors, stopping by the County Wexford home of his great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, who'd emigrated to America in 1848.
In 1974, President Richard Nixon opened an official visit to the Soviet Union.
In 1986, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled the United States had broken international law and violated the sovereignty of Nicaragua by aiding the contras. (The U.S. had already said it would not consider itself bound by the World Court decision.)
In 1990, NASA announced that a flaw in the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope was preventing the instrument from achieving optimum focus. (The problem was traced to a mirror that had not been ground to exact specifications; corrective optics were later installed to fix the problem.)
In 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black jurist to sit on the nation's highest court, announced his retirement. (His departure led to the contentious nomination of Clarence Thomas to succeed him.)
Ten years ago: A constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag died in a Senate cliffhanger, falling one vote short of the 67 needed to send it to states for ratification. Surgeon General Richard Carmona issued a report saying breathing any amount of someone else's tobacco smoke harmed nonsmokers. "Railroad Killer" Angel Maturino Resendiz, linked to 15 murders, was executed in Texas for the slaying of physician Claudia Benton in 1998.
Five years ago: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted by a federal jury in Chicago of a wide range of corruption charges, including the allegation that he'd tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat. (Blagojevich was later sentenced to 14 years in prison.) International judges ordered the arrest of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi for murdering civilians. Venus and Serena Williams were eliminated in the fourth round of Wimbledon, the first time in five years that neither sister advanced to the quarterfinals at the All England Club. Actress Elaine Stewart, 81, died in Beverly Hills, California.
One year ago: The Episcopal Church elected its first African-American presiding bishop, choosing Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina during the denomination's national assembly in Salt Lake City. Chris Squire, 67, the bassist and co-founder of the progressive rock band Yes, died in Phoenix, Arizona.
Today's Birthdays: Business executive Ross Perot is 86. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is 78. Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) is 74. Fashion designer Vera Wang is 67. Actress Julia Duffy is 65. Actress Isabelle Adjani is 61. Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 57. Actor Brian Drillinger is 56. Writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams is 50. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is 48. Olympic gold and bronze medal figure skater Viktor Petrenko is 47. Actor Edward "Grapevine" Fordham Jr. is 46. TV personality Jo Frost is 46. Actor Yancey Arias is 45. Actor Christian Kane is 42. Actor Tobey Maguire is 41. Rock singer Bernhoft is 40. Gospel singer Leigh Nash is 40. Musician Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers) is 34. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian is 32. Actor Drake Bell is 30. Actor Sam Claflin is 30. Actress India de Beaufort is 29. Actor Ed Westwick is 29. Actress Madylin Sweeten is 25. Pop singer Lauren Jauregui (Fifth Harmony) (TV: "The X Factor") is 20. Actor Chandler Riggs is 17.
Thought for Today: "Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius." — Edward Gibbon, English historian (1737-1794).