Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fanny Crosby

Frances Jane Crosby (March 24 1820 – February 12 1915) usually known as Fanny Crosby, was an American lyricist best known for her Protestant Christian hymns. A lifelong Methodist, she was one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000 despite being blind since infancy. Also known for her preaching and speaking, 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 [but not the 1982 Episcopal Church Hymnal]. 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". Because some publishers were hesitant to have so many hymns by one person in their hymnals, Crosby used nearly 100 different pseudonyms during her career.

Crosby wrote her first hymn in 1863 for the composer William B. Bradbury, a respected musician and publisher. It was called "There's a Cry from Macedonia". Over the years she wrote for Bradbury and for other composers, including Philip Phillips, Hubert P. Main, Robert Lowry, W. H. Doane, Ira D. Sankey, Philip P. Bliss, Mr. W. F. Sherwin, and Phoebe Knapp.

Crosby was very well known during her time and often met with presidents, generals, and other dignitaries. She played the hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" at President Grant's funeral in 1885. In her later years, she also became a popular public speaker.

When she died, her tombstone carried the words, "Aunt Fanny" and "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine."

Selected Works:
  • "All the Way My Savior Leads Me"—bef. 1875, music by Robert Wadsworth Lowry
  • "Blessed Assurance"—1873, music by Phoebe Knapp
  • "The Bright Forever"—1871, music by Hubert P. Main
  • "Close to Thee"—1874, music by Silas J. Vail
  • "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home"—1883, music by George C. Stebbins
  • "I Am Thine, O Lord"—bef. 1875, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "My Savior First of All"—1891, music by John R. Sweney
  • "Near the Cross"—bef. 1869, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour"—1868, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Praise Him, Praise Him"—bef. 1869, music by Chester G. Allen
  • "Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It"—bef. 1882, William J. Kirkpatrick
  • "Rescue the Perishing"—1869, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Safe in the Arms of Jesus"—1878, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Saviour, More Than Life to Me"—1875, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Tell Me the Story of Jesus"—bef. 1880, music by John R. Sweney
  • "To God Be the Glory"—1875, music by W. Howard Doane
  • "Draw me Nearer"—1875, words by Fanny Crosby
You can find these and many other of her hymns at

Propers for Fanny Crosby - Hymnist

The Collect.

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thanks unto thee for thy servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind from infancy, beheld thy glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to thy people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of thy love, praising our Saviour all the day long; who liveth and reigneth with the and the Holy Ghost, one God in perfect harmony, now and for ever. Amen.

The Psalter - Psalm 108:1-6

The First Lesson - Isaiah 42:10-12, 16

The Second Lesson - 1 Peter 1:3-9

The Holy Gospel - St. John 9:35-39


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