Fanny Crosby


Fanny Crosby : biography

March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915

O ye, who here from every state convene, Illustrious band! may we not hope the scene You now behold will prove to every mind Instruction hath a ray to cheer the blind."FANNY CROSBY IS DEAD AT HER HOME: Noted Hymn Writer, Blind Since Youth, Lives To Age of Ninety-Five", The Lincoln Daily Star (Lincoln, NE) (February 12, 1915),

On January 24, 1844, Crosby was among the students from the NYIB who gave a concert for Congress. She recited an original composition that called for the creation of an institution for the education of the blind in every state.For words, see Fanny Crosby, "An Address" (January 24, 1844), The Blind Girl and Other Poems (New York, NY: Wiley & Putnam, 1844):149–151. This was praised by, amongst others, John Quincy Adams.Spann & Williams (2008), p. 43. Two days later, she was among a group of Blind Institution students who gave a presentation to notable people at Trenton, New Jersey, where she recited an original poem calling for the aid and education of the blind.For the words, see Fanny Crosby, "An Address" (January 24, 1844), The Blind Girl and Other Poems (New York, NY: Wiley & Putnam, 1844):152–154. When President James K. Polk visited the NYIB in 1845, Crosby recited a poem she composed for the occasion that praised "republican government".Spann & Williams (2008), p. 74.

In April 1846, Crosby spoke before a joint session of the United States Congress, with delegations from the Boston and Philadelphia Institutions for the Blind,Crosby (1906), p. 19. "to advocate support for the education of the blind in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York"."Congressional", The Hartford Times (Hartford, CT) (May 9, 1846) p. 2. She also testified before a special congressional subcommittee, and sang a song she composed in the music room at the White House for Polk and his wife. Among the songs she sang as she accompanied herself on the piano was her own composition:

Our President! We humbly turn to thee –
Are not the blind the objects of thy care?Frances Jane Crosby, Monterrey and Other Poems, rev. ed. (New York: R. Craighead, 1856):60–61.

In 1846 Crosby was an instructor at the NYIB, and was listed as a "graduate pupil".Annie Isabel Willis, "A Blind Hymn Writer", Daily True American (August 1, 1889):2. She subsequently joined the school’s faculty, teaching grammar, rhetoric, and history;Annie Isabel Willis, "A Blind Hymnwriter", Daily True American (August 1, 1889):2. she remained there until three days before her wedding on March 5, 1858. In 1851 Crosby addressed the New York state legislature.Fanny Crosby, New York Institution for the Blind, An Address to the Legislature of New-York: On the Occasion of their Visit as Guests of the Common Council of the City, to the New-York Institution for the Blind (Lambert & Lane, Stationers, 69 Wall St., NY, 1851). While teaching at the NYIB Crosby befriended future US president Grover ClevelandFanny Crosby, "Cleveland as a Teacher in the Institution for the Blind", McClure’s Magazine (March 1909):581–583. then aged 17.Spann & Williams (2008), p. 152. Cleveland and Crosby spent many hours together at the end of each day, and Cleveland often transcribed the poems Crosby dictated to him.George Frederick Parker, Recollections of Grover Cleveland, 2nd ed. (The Century Co., 1911):22–25. Cleveland wrote a recommendation for Crosby which was published in her 1906 autobiography. Being unable to attend due to her health, Crosby wrote a poem that was read at the dedication of Cleveland’s birthplace in Caldwell, New Jersey in March 1913."$18,000 FUND TO BUY CLEVELAND’S HOME; His Birthplace at Caldwell, NJ, Will Be Dedicated as a National Memorial", The New York Times (February 22, 1913),