Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frances Jane Crosby (March 24 1820 - February 12 1915) usually known as Fanny Crosby, was one of the most prolific hymnists in history. She wrote over 8,000 hymns despite being blind from shortly after birth. During 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. Some of her best known songs include "Blessed Assurance" , "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home" , "Praise Him, Praise Him" , and "To God be the Glory". Since some publishers were hesitant to have so many hymns by one person in their hymnals, Crosby used nearly 100 different pseudonyms during her career.
Her blindness was caused when she was six weeks old by an incompetent doctor who was trying to treat an eye infection. However, Crosby was never bitter about her disability. 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.
Crosby was very well-known during her time and often met with presidents, generals and other dignitaries (she was asked to play at President Grant's Funeral). In addition to writing songs she also taught English and history at the New York Institution for the Blind (now the New York Institute for Special Education ), where she had previously been a student.
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.
Crosby is buried in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
- The New York Institute for Special Education page on Fanny Crosby
- The Cyberhymnal's page on her (includes her pseudonyms and many of her hymns)
- A biography of her
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