Letters of note

Albert Einstein and Franklin Roosevelt

Letters have fueled love affairs, severed friendships and altered the course of history, an essay in this week’s edition of Parade magazine notes.

The piece cites Albert Einstein’s 1939 missive to President Franklin Roosevelt urging him to start a nuclear program. Einstein later said he regretted sending the note, which inspired the Manhattan Project.

Other highlights: Johnny Cash’s love letters to his wife June, which he continued to write late in life, and a note sent to The New Yorker magazine by an aspiring writer named Eudora Welty.

“How I would like to work for you!” Welty wrote. She didn’t get the job.

The essay also features people who are preserving the tradition of letter writing. Among them: Hannah Brencher, a 26-year-old Atlanta-based blogger whose site, MoreLoveLetters.com, encourages readers to put pen to paper more frequently.

“We are in desperate need for tactile proof that we matter — letters give us that,” Brencher says.