Fanny Crosby


Fanny Crosby : biography

March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915

Crosby and Root’s first successful popular songs was "The Hazel Dell" (1853), a "sentimental ballad" described by its publisher as "a very pretty and easy song, containing the elements of great popularity", which was released as the work of G.F. Wurzel toward the end of 1853,David Ewen, American Songwriters: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary (H.W. Wilson, 1987):339."Wm. Hall & Son’s Column", New-York Musical Review: A Journal of Sacred and Secular Music 5:2 (January 19, 1854):31. and was a hit, that was "one of the most popular songs in the country", because of its performance by both Henry Wood’s Minstrels and Christy’s Minstrels,"New Music Reviews", New-York Musical Review: A Journal of Sacred and Secular Music 5:25 (December 7, 1854):425. selling more than 200,000 copies of sheet music,., The New York Times (August 8, 1895) It is described as being on "the fringes of blackface minstrelsy, although it lacks dialect or any hint of buffoonery",Crawford (2000), p. 162. was about a beautiful girl who died young:

In December 1854 in an article proclaiming the death of "Negro minstrelsy", the "Hazel Dell", along with Stephen C. Foster’s 1851 song "Old Folks at Home" and "My Old Kentucky Home" (1853), were mentioned as popular songs that were evidence of the "bleaching process,… observable in the gradual rejection of the plantation, and the adoption of sentiments and poetic forms of expression, characteristic rather of the intelligent Caucasian"."Obituary, Not Eulogistic, New-York Musical Review: A Journal of Sacred and Secular Music 5:25 (December 7, 1854):418.

Toward the end of 1853, William Hall & Son released "Greenwood Bell", at the same time as "Hazel Dell", but credited it to Root and Crosby."The Greenwood Bell", (New York, NY: William Hall & Son, 1853), "The Greenwood Bell" (1853) Poetry by Miss Frances Jane Crosby, 1820–1915 of the New York Institution for the Blind; Music by George Frederick Root, 1820–1895 from the Editor of the Publishers. To J.C. Woodman Esq. (New York: William Hall & Son, 1853), It describes the funeral of a child, a young man, and an aged person, and the tolling of the bell at the Greenwood Cemetery. Other songs written by Crosby and Root included "O How Glad to Get Home";Crosby (1906), p. 112.Sarah M. Maverick, "A Reminiscence of Fanny Crosby", The Christian Work and the Evangelist 73 (1902):63. "They Have Sold Me Down the River (The Negro Father’s Lament)" (1853);"They’ve Sold Me Down the River. The Negro Father’s Lament. Song and Chorus", [] Their song "There’s Music in the Air" (1854) became a "hit song",Carder (2008), n.57, p. 215. and was listed in Variety Music Cavalcade as one of the most popular songs of 1854,Julius Mattfeld, Variety Music Cavalcade, 1620–1969, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall, 1971), and was in songbooks until at least the 1930s,Carder (2008), p. 58. becoming a college song at Princeton University.

After the expiration of Root’s contract with William Hall & Son in 1855, Crosby-Root songs were published by other publishers, including Six Songs by Wurzel published in 1855 by S. Brainard’s Sons of Cleveland, Ohio, after being rejected by Nathan Richardson of Russell & Richardson of Boston.Carder (2008), pp. 62–65; 196; n.75, 215. These six Root-Crosby songs were "O How Glad to Get Home";"Glad to Get Home" (1855), Words and Music attributed to Wurzel (G. F. R.) [pseud. for George Frederick Root, 1820–1895] from Six Songs by Wurzel (Cleveland, OH: S. Brainard’s Sons) [Source: 1883-24139@LoC], "Honeysuckle Glen";[ "Six Songs by Wurzel. No. 2. The Honeysuckle Glen"]"The Honeysuckle Glen" (No. 2 from Six Songs by Wurzel), For lyrics, see Crosby & Lowry (1899), pp. 134–135. "The Church in the Wood"; "All Together Now";[ "Six Songs by Wurzel. No. 5. All Together Again"] and "Proud World, Good-by"."Proud World Good Bye! I’m Going Home" (No. 6 from Six Songs by Wurzel (Cleveland, OH: S. Brainard’s Sons), The most popular of these songs was "Rosalie, the Prairie Flower","Seven Popular Songs by Wurzel (Geo. F. Root). No. 3. Rosalie the Prairie Flower", []For lyrics, see "Rosalie the Prairie Flower" (1855) by George Frederick Root,; or Crosby & Lowry (1899), pp. 132–133. about the death of a young girl,Carder (208), n.75, p. 215. popularized in the 1850s by the Christy Minstrels,"Rosalie, The Prairie Flower", in Best Loved Songs of The American People, ed. Denes Agay (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1975), which sold more than 125,000 copies of sheet music that earned nearly $3,000 in royalties for Root,Carder (2008), n.82, p. 215. and almost nothing for Crosby,Ellen Koskoff, Women and Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective (University of Illinois Press, 1989):184. after they failed to sell it originally for $100 to Richardson; Crosby also wrote the words for popular songs for other composers, including "There is a Bright and Sunny Spot" (1856) for Clare W. Beames."The Popular Musical Compositions of Clare W. Beames", New York Musical Review and Gazette 7:3 (February 9, 1856):63.