Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), born in New York and died in Connecticut, wrote over 8,500 gospel hymns. In 1972, Hope Publishing Co. found over 1,000 unpublished manuscripts. Her work defined what it meant to be a successful writer of gospel hymns.
By the age of six weeks, Fanny Crosby was completely blind. She entered the New York School for the Blind at age twelve. She began writing hymns and poetry at age twelve.
Her collaborators in publishing gospel hymns included the most successful and popular composers of her day, including William Bradbury, William Doane, Robert Lowry, Ira Sankey, and William Kirkpatrick. Crosby used numerous pen names in publishing her songs, including: Ella Dale, Mrs. Kate Gringley and Miss Viola V. A. She married blind musician Alexander Van Alstyne, and the British most often refer to her by her married name rather than Fanny Crosby. She was a lifelong Methodist and her contributions to The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) include: “Blessed Assurance,” “Close to Thee,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “To God Be the Glory.” (Source: Carlton Young, Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal, 1993)