“Mother, if I had a choice I would still choose to remain blind… for when I die the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Savior.” -Fanny Crosby, as a small child.
Frances Jane Crosby was born into a family of strong Puritan ancestry on March 24, 1820. As a baby, she had an eye infection which an incompetent doctor treated by placing hot poultices on her red and inflamed eyelids. The infection did clear up, but the result was scars that formed on her eyes, and Fanny became blind for life. A few months later, Fanny’s dad became ill and died. Mercy Crosby, widowed at 21, hired herself out as a main while Grandmother Eunice Crosby took care of little Fanny.
Fanny worked as an American Methodist rescue mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer. During her lifetime, she was well-known throughout the United States. By the end of the 19th century, she was a household name, and one of the most prominent figures in American evangelical life.
In addition to working as an American Methodist rescue mission worker, Fanny Crosby was a poet, lyricist, composer, and probably the most prolific hymnist in history, writing over 8,000 hymns. As many as 200 different pen names were given to her works by hymn book publishers so that the public wouldn’t know she wrote so large a number of them. She produced as many as seven hymns/poems in one day. On several occasions, upon hearing an unfamiliar hymn sung, she would inquire about the author and find it to be one of her own! Fanny set a goal of winning a million people to Christ through her hymns, and whenever she wrote a hymn she prayed it would bring women and men to Christ, and kept careful records of those reported to have been saved through her hymns.
Take fifteen hymnals and stack them one on top of another. All together, that’s about the number of hymns Fanny wrote in her lifetime. Of course, many of those have been forgotten today, but a large number remain favorites of Christians all over the world, like:
I Am Thine, O Lord
To God Be the Glory
Break Forth, O Joyful Heart
Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
God Will Take Care of You
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
We Walk By Faith
A longer list is here: http://www.1timothy4-13.com/files/hymns/crosby.html. How many do you know? What’s your favorite?
In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States and a strong Christian whose legacy of faithfulness to God is exhibited by the hymns that will be sung for all eternity.
One day Fanny was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp at her beautiful mansion. Phoebe sat at the piano and played a new melody she had just composed. “What do you think the tune says?” asked Phoebe.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” replied Fanny.