Fanny J. Crosby

Fanny J. Crosby (1820–1915).
Memories of Eighty Years.
Boston: J. H. Earle & Company, 1906. (PS 3114 .V43 Z5)

Fanny J. Crosby (1820–1915).
Bells at Evening and Other Verses.
With Biographical Sketch by Robert Lowry.

New York and Chicago: Biglow & Main Company, 1898. (BRB1291)

Frances Jane “Fanny” Crosby ranks with Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley among the most prolific and well-known of all hymn writers. Born in Brewster, New York, she lost her sight when she was an infant. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-three she attended the New York Institution for the Blind, where she later served as a teacher for eleven years. Recognized for her poetic talent, she became the first woman to address the United States Senate in 1843, reciting a poem that called for educational institutions for the blind in every state. In the following year she published The Blind Girl and Other Poems. Raised as a Presbyterian, she joined New York’s 30th Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1851 and became close friends with Phoebe Palmer. In 1858 she married Alexander van Alstyne, a blind composer, but she continued to sign her verses with her maiden name. During the 1860s her hymns began to appear in the hymnals of various denominations. After seven decades of work, during which she usually donated her earnings to missionary efforts, Crosby had published more than 8,000 hymns. Many of these, including “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” (1868), “Blessed Assurance” (1873), and “To God Be the Glory” (1875), are still sung today.

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