Frances Jane
"Fanny" Crosby


Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded by an incompitent doctor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blindness, she said:
It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.

In her life­time, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known wo­men in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of American hymnals contain her work.

When she died, her tomb­stone carried the words, “Aunt Fanny” and “Bless­ed as­sur­ance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a fore­taste of glory divine.” Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny’s passing in a poem:

Away to the country of sunshine and song,
Our songbird has taken her flight,
And she who has sung in the darkness so long
Now sings in the beautiful light.

Known as an American hymn writer and poetess, Fanny Crosby wrote over 9,000 hymns during her life. Many stories have been told about her. She entered what was then known as the New York Institution for the Blind at the age of fifteen and afterward taught English and history (1847-58).

As a pupil and as a teacher, Fanny spent 35 years at the school. She was often asked to entertain visitors with her poems and she frequently met with presidents, generals and other dignitaries. She was asked to play at President Grant's Funeral. Her first book of poems was published in 1844 was called The Blind Girl and Other Poems.

After leaving the school, she dedicated her life to serving the poorest and the neediest. Supporting herself by her writing, she quickly gained fame for her hymns. It is said that publishers had so much of her work, that they took to using them under pseudonyms. Her usual fee was a mere $2 which frequently went to her work with the poor. Her mission work is legendary, as is her devotion to serving others above herself.


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