Frances Jane Crosby
1820 – 1915
Frances Jane Crosby was born in Southeast New York. When she was six weeks old she lost her sight through the negligence of the attending physician. At the age of nine her grandmother introduced Fanny to the Bible which she began to devour. She learned to repeat from memory the Pentateuch, the book of Ruth, many of the Psalms, the book of Proverbs, Song of Solomon and much of the New Testament.
Near her fifteenth birthday, she was enrolled in the institute for the blind in New York City and spent the next 23 years there as a student and teacher.
From her earliest childhood, she felt the urge to write poetry. While at the institute, her poems attracted the attention of many famous people and in 1843 at the age of 23, she was the guest of Congress. She paid tribute to the Congress with an original poem and then began paying tribute to the Lord, reciting verses about the tender care of the loving Saviour. With all of her apparent devotion to Christ, she was really not converted until 1851 during a revival. Soon her poems began to reflect her faith in Christ, and from her prolific pen came the words to such songs as: “A Shelter in the Time of Storm”, “All the Way My Saviour Leads Me”, “Blessed Assurance”, “Close to Thee”, “He Hideth My Soul”, “I am Thine O Lord”, “Jesus is Calling”, “My Saviour First of All”, “Near the Cross”, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus”, “To God be the Glory” and nearly nine thousand others. Though blind, she lived to see 100 million copies of her songs printed. After a full life of devotion to her Saviour, she slipped away to meet Him and to see Him “Face to Face” just short of her 95th birthday. On her gravestone in Bridgeport, Connecticut are the words, “She hath done what she could.”