Frances Jane "Fanny" van Alstyne (Crosby) (1820 - 1915)

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Frances J. "Fanny" Crosby's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Dutchess, NY, USA
Death: Died in Bridgeport, CT, USA
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:

About Frances Jane "Fanny" van Alstyne (Crosby)

Frances Jane Crosby (March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915), usually known as Fanny Crosby in the United States and by her married name, Frances van Alstyne, in the United Kingdom, was 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". She became blind while an infant.

Best known for her Protestant Christian hymns and gospel songs, Crosby was "the premier hymnist of the gospel song period", and one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000, with over 100 million copies of her songs printed. Crosby was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1975. Known as the "Queen of Gospel Song Writers", and as the "Mother of modern congregational singing in America", with "dozens of her hymns continu[ing] to find a place in the hymnals of Protestant evangelicalism around the world", with most American hymnals containing her work, as "with the possible exception of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, Crosby has generally been represented by the largest number of hymns of any writer of the twentieth century in nonliturgical hymnals". Her gospel songs were "paradigmatic of all revival music", and Ira Sankey attributed the success of the Moody and Sankey evangelical campaigns largely to Crosby's hymns. Some of Crosby's best-known songs include "Blessed Assurance", "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour", "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home", "Praise Him, Praise Him", "Rescue the Perishing", 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 200 different pseudonyms during her career.

Crosby wrote over 1,000 secular poems, and had four books of poetry published, as well as two best-selling autobiographies. Additionally, Crosby co-wrote popular secular songs, as well as political and patriotic songs, and at least five cantatas on biblical and patriotic themes, including The Flower Queen, the first secular cantata by an American composer. Crosby was committed to Christian rescue missions, and was known for her public speaking.

Note: use wikipedia link for much more on Fanny Crosby. -------------------- Frances Jane 'Fanny' CROSBY (1820-1915), author of many hymns, including: To God Be The Glory; Praise Him!, Praise Him!; I Am Thine, O Lord. Married Alexander VanAlstyne.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Birth: Mar. 24, 1820 Death: Feb. 12, 1915

Poet, Hymnist. Born Frances Jane Crosby in Gayville, New York the only child of John and Mercy Crosby. An illness at two months led to applications of poultices and plasters to her affected eyes, and the treatment blinded her. Some six months later, her father died, forcing her mother to work, while she was raised by her grandmother. At about age ten, she and her mother relocated to Connecticut, where Fanny was taught the Bible by rote and could recite the four Gospels and Song of Solomon among other verses by the time she was 12. At fifteen, she enrolled in the New York Institute for the Blind where she studied such things as English, science, history, philosophy, astronomy, and music and where her penchant for writing poetry was encouraged. Her first published work was ‘A Blind Girl and Other Poems' which appeared in1844, followed by ‘Monterey and Other Poems' in 1853, and ‘A Wreath of Columbia's Flowers' in 1858. She also learned to sing and mastered the guitar, the piano, the organ, and became a noted harpist. From 1847 to 1858, she joined the faculty, teaching English and history. In 1850, during a cholera outbreak, she remained at the school to nurse the sick, rather than retreat to the safety of the countryside. From that point her compositions began to reflect a more religious tone. She became an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She married Alexander van Alstyne, also a blind musician and teacher, in 1858. Her first hymn was published in 1863 with the music of composer William Bradbury, ‘There's a Cry from Macedonia.' She continued to work with Bradbury and for other composers, including Philip Phillips, Hubert P. Main, Robert Lowry, W. H. Doane, Ira D. Sankey, Philip P. Bliss, W. F. Sherwin, and Phoebe Knapp over the next forty years, writing such hymns as ‘Blessed Assurance,' ‘Saved By Grace,' ‘To God Be the Glory,' and ‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus,' the last being played at President U. S. Grant's funeral in 1885. For several years she was under contract to write three hymns a week for the publishing firm Bigelow and Main. They purchased 5,900 poems from her and in her later years provided her a regular allowance. By the end of her career she had written well over 8,000 hymns. Her last book of poems ‘Bells at Ev¬en¬ing and Other Vers¬es' was published in 1897. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1975. Several biographies have been published including ‘Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby' by Edith Blumhofer in 2005. (bio by: Iola)

Family links:

 John Crosby (1794 - 1820)
 Mercy Crosby Morris (1799 - 1890)

 Alexander Van Alstyne (1831 - 1902)*

 Frances J. Crosby (1820 - 1915)
 Julia Morris Athington (1841 - 1921)**
 Caroline Morris Rider (1844 - 1948)**
  • Calculated relationship
    • Half-sibling

Burial: Mountain Grove Cemetery and Mausoleum Bridgeport Fairfield County Connecticut, USA

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Dec 14, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 4173

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Frances J. "Fanny" Crosby's Timeline

March 24, 1820
Dutchess, NY, USA
- 1915
March 5, 1855
Age 34
March 1858
Age 37
Age 39

The couple had one child,which died in infancy.Later,Fanny's hymn,Safe in the Arms of Jesus,would comfort many similarly grieving parents.On July 18,1902 Alexander Van Alstyne died in Brooklyn.Fanny Crosby did not attend the funeral because of her poor health. Phoebe Knapp paid for his burial at Mt.Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth,New York.

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest.
Hark! ’tis a song of heaven
Borne in the sweetest voice,
Echoed by saints in spirit,
Making my heart rejoice.
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest.
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations,
Sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow,
Free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials,
Only a few more tears.
Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge,
Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages
Ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience,
Wait till the night is o’er,
Wait till I see the morning
Break on the golden shore.


Since we have no idea what her Fanny's child name was I have dedicated this page to her and her husbands child and named them with this name.

February 12, 1915
Age 94
Bridgeport, CT, USA
February 12, 1915
Age 94
Mountain Grove Cemetery and Mausoleum Bridgeport Fairfield County Connecticut, USA