Open main menu

CROSBY, Fanny J., blind song-writer, born in 1823. For over a half-century she has been singing in her blindness, and her songs have gone around the earth, been translated into many languages and been sung in every land. Miss Crosby showed her talent for versification in childhood. At the age of eight years she composed verses that were remarkable in their way. She was educated in a school for the blind, and she became a teacher in the Institution for the Blind in New York City. While engaged there, she wrote the words for many of the songs composed by George F. Root, the well-known musician. Among these were some that became very widely known, including, "Hazel Dell," "Rosalie, the Prairie Flower," "Proud World, Good-bye, I'm Going Home," "Honey-suckle Glen" and "There's Music in the Air." She wrote the words for the successful cantatas, "The Pilgrim Fathers" and "The Flower Queen." Her most famous hymn, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," was written in 1868. That hymn is her favorite. In the same year she wrote that other famous hymn, "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior." Every year she has added new songs of remarkable power and taking qualities to her long list of productions. Her "Rescue the Perishing," "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross," and "Keep Thou My Way, O Lord," appeared in 1869. The last named song was set to music and used for years as the prayer-song in the Mayflower Mission connected with Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N. Y. In 1871 she wrote "The Bright Forever," in 1873 "Close to Thee," in 1874 "O, Come to the Savior," " Like the Sound of Many Waters" and "Savior, More than Life to Me." In 1875 she wrote "I am Thine, O Lord," "So Near to the Kingdom," and "O, my Savior, Hear Me." She has always been known as Fanny J. Crosby, but her name since her marriage has been Van Alstyne. She lives in New York City. It is estimated that the hymns from her pen number over 2,500, and in addition to that wonderful total must be considered the many secular songs, cantatas and other lyrical productions which have appeared under her name or anonymously. One house has published 1,900 of her productions. No complete collection of her verses has vet been made.