Fanny Crosby


Fanny Crosby : biography

March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915

Political songs

In addition to poems of welcome to visiting dignitaries, Crosby wrote songs of a political nature, such as about the major battles of the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.Blumhofer (Hymnody, 2006), p. 229. By the 1840 US Presidential election, Crosby was "an ardent Democrat" and wrote verse against the Whig candidate (and ultimate winner), William Henry Harrison.Ruffin (1995), p. 43. By 1852 Crosby switched her political allegiance from support for the Jacksonian Democrats to the anti-slavery Whigs,Blumhofer (2005), p. 94. writing the poem "Carry Me On" for the Whigs in 1852.Ralph Hartsock, "Crosby, Frances Jane "Fanny" (1820–1915)", in Women in the American Civil War, Vol. 2, ed. Lisa Tendrich Frank (ABC-CLIO, 2008):193. After the election of Democrat Franklin Pierce as US President in November 1856, she wrote:

The election’s past and I’m pierced at last The locos have gained the day.Spann & Williams (2008), p. 95.

A "strict abolitionist", Crosby supported Abraham Lincoln and the newly-created Republican Party. After the Civil War, Crosby was a devoted supporter of the Grand Army of the Republic and its political aims.

Patriotic songs

According to one source, Crosby "was so patriotic that when the Civil War broke out, she often pinned the Union flag to her blouse. When a southern lady found this offensive and snapped, ‘Take that dirty rag away from here!’ Fanny was incensed and told the woman to ‘Repeat that remark at your risk!’ The restaurant manager arrived on the scene just in time to prevent the two women from coming to blows".

During the American Civil War, Crosby "vented patriotism in verse", and it "evoked from Crosby an outpouring of songs — some haunting, some mournful, some militaristic, a few even gory", but "her texts testified to her clear moral sense about the issues that fomented in the war years". Crosby wrote many poems supporting the Union cause, including "Dixie for the Union" (1861),Coleman Hutchison, "Whistling ‘Dixie’ for the Union (Nation, Anthem, Revision)", American Literary History 19:3 (2007):603–628. a poem written before the outbreak of hostilities to the tune of Dixie,Irwin Silber and Jerry Silverman, Songs of the Civil War (Courier Dover Publications, 1995):52. a tune adopted later by the Confederate States of America as a patriotic anthem.Fanny Crosby, "Dixie for the Union", New York Institute for Special Education Museum and Archive Walkthrough (Version 4.1):24, The first of the five stanzas is:

On! ye Patriots, to the battle Hear Fort Moultrie’s cannon rattle: Then away, then away, then away to the fight! Go, meet those Southern traitors, with iron will, And should your courage falter, Boys, Remember Bunker Hill — Hurrah.

Chorus: Hurrah — Hurrah, The Stars and Stripes forever

Hurrah — Hurrah, Our Union shall not sever.For the lyrics, see "Dixie For the Union",

Soon after they met in February 1864,Ruffin (1995), p. 90. Crosby wrote the words and William B. Bradbury composed the music for a popular patriotic Civil War song "There is a Sound Among the Forest Trees".For words, see "There’s A Sound Among the Forest Trees" (1864) A New Rallying Song and Chorus. Words by Miss Fanny Jane Crosby [aka Mrs. Francis Van Alstyne, 1820–1915]; Music by William Bachelder Bradbury,1816–1868,"A Sound Among the Forest Trees. A New Rallying Song and Chorus", (1864), "Miss Fanny Crosby (lyricist); Wm. B. Bradbury (composer)".Neptune (2001), p. 66."New Music", The Round Table (June 18, 1864):13. Crosby’s text encourages volunteers to join the Union forces and incorporates references to the past of the United States including the Pilgrim Fathers and the Battle of Bunker Hill.Georgia B. Barnhill and Andrew W. Mellon, "Poignant Songs and Poems Took the Civil War to the Home Front", Ephemera News Ephemera Society of America,