1820–1915
Fan­ny Cros­by
portrait

March 24, 1820, Brew­ster, Put­nam Coun­ty, New York.

Feb­ru­a­ry 12, 1915, Bridge­port, Con­nec­ti­cut.

Moun­tain Grove Cem­e­tery, Bridge­port, Con­nec­ti­cut. On her tomb­stone are the words, Aunt Fan­ny and Bless­ed as­sur­ance, Je­sus is mine. Oh, what a fore­taste of glory di­vine.

portrait
portrait
portrait
Fanny & Hubert Main
portrait
Fanny & Ira Sankey

One of the most pro­lif­ic hym­nists in his­to­ry, Fan­ny was the wife of or­gan­ist Al­ex­an­der Van Al­styne, who like her, was blind.

Though blind­ed by an in­com­pe­tent doc­tor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blind­ness, Fanny 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.

In 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. Her se­cu­lar works in­clude:

On her 85th birth­day, Amer­i­can pres­i­dent Gro­ver Cleve­land wrote to Fan­ny:

My dear friend:

It is more than fif­ty years ago that our ac­quaint­ance and friend­ship be­gan; and ev­er since that time I have watched your con­tin­u­ous and in­ter­es­ted la­bor in up­lift­ing hu­man­i­ty, and point­ing out the way to an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of God’s good­ness and mer­cy.

Though your la­bors have, I know, brought you abun­dant re­wards in your con­scious­ness of good ac­comp­lished, those who have known of your works and sym­pa­thized with your no­ble pur­pos­es owe it to them­selves that you are ap­prized of their re­mem­brance of these things. I am, there­fore, ex­ceed­ing­ly gra­ti­fied to learn that your eighty-fifth birth­day is to be cel­e­brat­ed with a dem­on­stra­tion of this re­mem­brance. As one proud to call you an old friend, I de­sire to be ear­ly in con­gra­tu­lat­ing you on your long life of use­ful­ness, and wish­ing you in the years yet to be add­ed to you, the peace and com­fort born of the love of God.

Yours very since­re­ly,
Grover Cleve­land

Eliza Hew­itt me­mor­i­al­ized Fanny’s pass­ing in a po­em read at her fun­er­al:

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;
The harp-strings here broken are sweetly restrung
To ring in a chorus sublime;
The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung
Keep tune with eternity’s chime!

What heart can conceive of the rapture she knows
Awakened to glories so bright,
Where radiant splendor unceasingly glows,
Where cometh no shadows of night!
Her life-work is ended’ and over the tide,
Redeemed in His presence to stand,
She knows her Re­deem­er, for her crucified,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

Blessed Assurance—the lamp in her soul
That made earthly midnight as naught!
A New Song of joy shall unceasingly roll
To Him who her ransom had bought.
To Rescue the Perishing, her greatest delight,
What bliss, in the Homeland, to meet
With those she has told of the Lord’s saving might,
Together, to bow at His feet.

Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while,
You walk in the shadows no more;
Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile;
The Lamb is the Light of that Shore!
Someday we will meet in the City above;
Together, we’ll look on His face;
Safe, Safe in the Arms of the Je­sus we love;
Together we’ll sing, Saved by Grace!

Rothwell, p. 47

illustration

Pseudonyms (see Crosby, p. 627, and Jackson, p. 25)

  • Adrienne, Cora
  • Alstyne, Fannie Jane
  • Andrews, A. E.
  • Andrews, Mrs. E. C.
  • Apple, James
  • Armstrong, Alice
  • Atherton, Rose
  • Ayres, Harry C.
  • Bell, Carrie
  • Bethune, Catherine
  • Bittle, Ella
  • Black, James
  • Black, James L.
  • Black, James M.
  • Blair, H. E.
  • Blair, Henrietta E.
  • Booth, Florence
  • Brown, Charles
  • Bruce, Charles
  • Bruce, Robert J.
  • Burke, M. W.
  • Burns, Charles
  • C., Miss Lily
  • Cappel, Mary J.
  • Carlston, Mary
  • Carlton, Leah
  • Church, Fannie
  • Clifford, C. L.
  • Clyde, Jessie
  • Craddock, Eleanor
  • Cuyler, Lyman G.
  • D. D.
  • D. D. R.
  • D. H. W.
  • Dale, Ella
  • Dare, Ella
  • Darling, Clare M.
  • Dayton, Flora
  • Douglas, Ella
  • Douglass, Mrs. Ella
  • Dykes, Rian A.
  • Edmonds, Lizzie
  • Edwards, Lizzie
  • Elliot, James
  • Elliott, Miss Grace
  • F. A. N.
  • F. J. C.
  • F. J. V. A.
  • Fannie
  • Fanny
  • Forest, Mrs. Edna
  • Frances, Carrie
  • Frances, Grace J.
  • Frances, Lillian G.
  • Frances, S. Trevor
  • Frances, Victoria
  • Garnet, Jenny
  • Glen, Jennie
  • Gould, Frank
  • Grinley, Mrs. Kate
  • G. W. W.
  • H. D. K.
  • Harmon, Ruth
  • Hawthorne, Carrie
  • Hope, Frances
  • Hops, Frances
  • J. C. F.
  • J. F. O.
  • J. W. W.
  • James, Annie L.
  • James, Mary
  • James, Sarah
  • Jones, E. D.
  • Jones, Walter S.
  • Judson, Allan A.
  • Judson, Myra
  • Lankton, Martha J.
  • Lincoln, H. N.
  • Linden, Miss Cora
  • Lindsey, Grace
  • Lindsay, W. Robert
  • L. L. A.
  • Lowry, Minnie B.
  • Marian, Maud
  • Marion, Maude
  • Martin, S
  • Martin, Sallie
  • Martin, Sam
  • Mason, Bertha
  • Matthews, Rose
  • Meade, Wilson
  • Miller, Laura
  • Montieth, A
  • Montieth, Alice
  • Morgan, D. W.
  • Oliver, Martha C.
  • Park, Edna L.
  • Prentice, Mrs. L.C.
  • Prentiss, Emily S.
  • Sampson, George
  • Shaw, Robert
  • Smiley, Mrs. Kate
  • Smiling, Mrs. Kate
  • Smith, S. M.
  • Smith, Sallie A.
  • Smith, Sallie E.
  • Smith, Sally
  • Smith, Sam
  • Sterling, J. L.
  • Sterling, Julia
  • Sterling, Rian J.
  • Sterling, Ryan
  • Sterling, Victoria
  • Stewart, Victoria
  • Storey, Anna C.
  • Taylor, Ida Scott
  • The Child­ren’s Friend
  • Thresher, Mrs. J. B.*
  • Tilden, Louise N.
  • Tilden, Mary
  • Tryaway, Hope
  • Tureman, Grace
  • V., Jenny
  • Van A., Mrs.
  • Van Alstyne, Fannie
  • Van Alstyne, Fannie Jane
  • Van Alstyne, Mrs.
  • Van Alstyne, Mrs. Alexander
  • Viola
  • Walker, H. Brown
  • Walker, Mary
  • Wallace, Zemira
  • Wells, Mrs. Helen
  • White, C. L.
  • Wilson, Carrie M.
  • Wilson, Mrs. Clara M.
  • Wilson, Mrs. C. M.
  • W. H. D.
  • W. W.
  • ##
  • ###
  • ‘*’
  • ***

*Jackson, page 25. If a set of lyr­ics is at­trib­ut­ed to Mrs. J. B. Thresh­er, the auth­or may be Fan­ny Cros­by, or may be Sar­ah Bliss Thresh­er.