Frances Jane Crosby (March 24 1820 – February 12 1915) usually known as Fanny Crosby, was an American lyricist best known for her Protestant Christian hymns. A lifelong Methodist, she was one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000 despite being blind since infancy. Also known for her preaching and speaking, during 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 [but not the 1982 Episcopal Church Hymnal]. Some of her best known songs include "Blessed Assurance", "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home", "Praise Him, Praise Him", 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 100 different pseudonyms during her career.
Crosby wrote her first hymn in 1863 for the composer William B. Bradbury, a respected musician and publisher. It was called "There's a Cry from Macedonia". Over the years she wrote for Bradbury and for other composers, including Philip Phillips, Hubert P. Main, Robert Lowry, W. H. Doane, Ira D. Sankey, Philip P. Bliss, Mr. W. F. Sherwin, and Phoebe Knapp.
Crosby was very well known during her time and often met with presidents, generals, and other dignitaries. She played the hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" at President Grant's funeral in 1885. In her later years, she also became a popular public speaker.
When she died, her tombstone carried the words, "Aunt Fanny" and "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine."
You can find these and many other of her hymns at Hymnary.org.
O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in you: We give you thanks for your servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind from infancy, beheld your glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to your people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of your love, praising our Savior all the day long; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in perfect harmony, now and for ever. Amen.