Encouraging saints around the world since 1991 !!
CHRISTIAN HYMN WRITER
A new hymn, based on Fanny Crosby's lyrics
Frances Jane Van Alstyne
Poet and Hymn Writer
Frances Jane Van Alystyne, poet and hymn-writer, known by her pen name Fanny J. Crosby, was born at South East, Putnam County, New York, March 24,1820. When six weeks old she lost her sight, through the negligence of the attending physician, but in spite of this severe affliction has always been noted for her cheerful and happy disposition.
She was educated in the New York City Institution for the Blind, which she entered in 1835, and proving herself one of the brightest of its favored pupils, completed the course of instruction in 1842. In 1847 she was appointed teacher of English grammar, rhetoric, Roman and Greek history, in this institution, filling the position acceptably until 1858. In 1851 she joined the Methodist Episcopal church, of which she has ever since been a devoted member.
When still very young she manifested poetic talent, composing creditable verses at the remarkably early age of eight years. She is described as an impressionable child, keenly appreciative of the beauties of nature, and left so greatly to her own thoughts, her intellect matured rapidly.
Her first volume of verse appeared in 1844, under the title "A Blind Girl and Other Poems." In 1849 came "Monterey and Other Poems," and in 1858 "A Wreath of Columbia's Flowers." From 1853 to 1858 she wrote a number of songs, which were set to music by George F. Root, some of them becoming exceedingly popular, such as "Rosalie the Prairie Flower," "Hazel Dell," "There's Music in the Air," etc.
Her first Sunday-school hymn was written in 1864, at the request of William B. Bradbury, the father of popular Sunday-school music in America, and was published by him in his " Golden Censer." During the succeeding thirty-two years she has been pouring forth from the riches of her heart and intellect, hymns, songs, and poems until they now number over 5,000, many of which have been published by The Biglow & Main Co., of New York City.
Her hymns are characterized by simplicity, directness and intense earnestness. Among the most popular are "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour," "Rescue the Perishing," "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross," "The Bright Forever," "Close to Thee," "Saviour, More Than Life to Me," and "I Am Thine, O Lord."
Fanny Crosby never writes out her poems, but completes each one in her mind and dictates it to an amanuensis. It is said that she can thus compose a dozen or more hymns before finally committing them to paper.
Through the publication of the famous "Gospel Hymns," and innumerable Sunday-school hymn-books in this country, and Mr. Sankey's "Sacred Songs and Solos" in England, her hymns have attained a wider circulation, and are at this time more extensively sung throughout the world than those of any other living hymn-writer. Many of her latest and best productions have appeared by her own request under various noms de plume.
In 1858 Miss Crosby was married to Prof. Alexander Van Alstyne, a talented teacher of music in New York, and, like herself, totally blind. She has, however, continued to write under her maiden name, which has become justly noted.
Possessed of a strong and hopeful Christian faith, a faculty for hard and persistent work, and a kindly interest in all about her, she is, even in old age, one of the brightest mortals, and the life of every circle into which she comes. Her residence is in Brooklyn. New York. [Note: Information up to 1897; Fanny Crosby died in 1915.]
SOME OF HER HYMNS:
Assurance", "To God Be The Glory", "Saved By
Grace", "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus", "Pass Me Not",
"He Hideth My Soul", "All The Way My Savior Leads Me",
"Near The Cross", "Rescue The Perishing",
BOOKS ABOUT FANNY CROSBY:
Crosby", by Bernard
"Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby", by Edith L. Blumhofer
"Fanny Crosby's Story of Ninety-Four Years", by Samuel Trevena Jackson
"Memories Of Eighty Years", by Fanny Crosby
"Fanny Crosby's Life Story", by herself
OTHER GREAT RESOURCES
Wholesome Words Web Site
The New York Institute for Special
(sold 9/08 for $102)
Item Description: Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) American hymn writer: secretarial autograph signature - "Lovingly Yours / Fanny Crosby" - and quoted phrase "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" dated "July 12, 1904/ Bridgeport Ct." with accompanying date-stamped envelope (probably self-addressed) to Mrs. E. C. Seely in Seattle Washington, with return address in same hand and ink as signature. Notes on Crosby's own deficient handwriting, and secretarial assistants follow below.
The quoted phrase and signature are on the lower front fold of a piece of light blue-green notepaper, 5-1/8" x 7" with a partial watermark "...atons/...an Linen" visible. There is a small ink mark, upper right corner, and two pairs of pin holes, upper left corner; the reverse side is blank. There are small shiney smudges in the lower two corners of the script fold and two similar above the horizontal fold line on the front of the sheet, possibly traces of adhesive, but not obscuring the handwriting. The sheet has been cross folded to fit the envelope.
The envelope has a cancelled 2-cent stamp and a date stamp for Bridgeport, Connecticut, July 12, 1904. There is a stamp mark on the back showing it as having been received in Seattle on July 17. The envelope also has one pair of pin holes within the waved stamp cancellation lines, with a crease where a pin likely once laid.
Fanny Crosby, a prolific writer of Protestant hymns, including "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," was blind from infancy. A recent biography by Edith Blumhofer includes the following : "Despite her education, her handwriting was barely legible, and on legal documents she signed her name with an X witnessed by friends". (Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby, by Edith Waldvogel Blumhofer, Edith L. Blumhofer. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, p. 200). The same book references Crosby's residence in Bridgeport in her later years, as well as her receiving secretarial help with her correspondence at this period from her companion Caroline Rider and a hired assistant, Eva Cleaveland (Blumhofer, p. 320).
This autograph was part of a collection made by Jessie McMillan, later Mrs. Edwin C. Seely, daughter of US Senator Samuel J. R. McMillan (R - Minnesota 1875-87). Some of the items have been preserved with envelopes addressed to her by name, in response to a personal request for an autograph, as in this case.
Evening... with Fanny Crosby
seller on ebay wrote: "This is one of my
favorite pieces of ephemera.
It is precious & I've never seen another one.
Photo is current at the time of publication when Fanny was 92 years old
It is published by Bigelow & Main who also financially supported Miss Crosby.
It is 20 pages and measures app. 8½" tall x 6" wide
There are 10 songs included"
FANNY'S GRAVE SITE
There is a large monument to P.T. Barnum
in the same cemetery as Fanny Crosby's grave.
Barnum's monument is visible from Fanny's family plot.
Before she died, Fanny Crosby made her sister promise
not to erect a large grave marker for her, because she thought
Barnum's was a disgusting symbol of his ego. At her request,
they gave her the following very small stone.
Original grave marker
Years later, a group of friends raised funds and
erected a slightly larger tribute to Fanny Crosby.
Ralph Merrifield, visiting the
monument erected by friends
"to whom her life was an inspiration"
Other Featured Christian Songwriters !
John W. Peterson
Jimmy & Carol Owens
The following have also agreed to be
Featured Christian Songwriters
(Open The Eyes Of My Heart, Above All -
with Lenny LeBlanc)
Rick Founds (Lord I Lift Your Name On High, Jesus Draw Me Close)
Mark Altrogge (I Stand In Awe Of You, I'm Forever Grateful)
HOME TOP 10 SONG PAGES HOW TO USE CONTACT US
This page was last updated on 3/14/10
visits have been made to this page since 1/1/09