Amy L. Sullivan
7 Reasons Why Fanny Crosby is the Next Gutsy Girl
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Some people hear about the prolific hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, and are impressed she wrote thousands of hymns despite being blind.
And obviously writing thousands of hymns is a big deal, but that’s not what impressed me most about Fanny. No siree, that’s not why I wanted Fanny to be the third gutsy girl in the Gutsy Girls series.
Do you see the green book with the girl smiling from a carriage? That’s Fanny Crosby, and she will make her way into the world in two short weeks on December 1st.
Of course, I am in awe that Fanny wrote so many hymns (and poems and stories and two autobiographies), but I am also impressed that Fanny was patriotic and political. Fanny cared deeply about issues such as homelessness and disease. She spent much of her time serving patients and caring for people the world wanted to forget. Fanny was adventurous and traveled continuously throughout her life, and Fanny loved God.
Fanny showed fierce determination to use the gifts God gave her, and that’s what makes Fanny gutsy.
7 Reasons Fanny Crosby is the next Gutsy Girl
1. Let’s start with the basics. Fanny is the author of over 9,000 hymns. In fact, if you pick-up a hymnal today, more than likely, you will find hymns written by Fanny. She is famous for classics such as “Blessed Assurance” and “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.” These are hymns which are still sung in churches today and are still being remade by current music artists.
2. Fanny was humble. Because Fanny wrote so many hymns, publishers were worried hymnals would be filled with nothing but Fanny’s name. Therefore, publishers encouraged her to use pen names. Fanny used over 200 different pseudonyms. Here are just a few:
Grace Lindsey, George Sampson, Leah Carleton, Edna L. Park, Catherine Bethune, Ellen Douglas, Frank Gould, Lyman Cuyler, Lizzie Edwards, Kate Marvin, Jennie Johnson, James Black, Bertha Mason, Arthur J. Langdon.
3. Fanny was patriotic. She loved the United States, and along with her Bible, she often carried a small, silk America flag. Fanny enjoyed meeting multiple presidents including President John Quincy Adams, President Van Buren, President Tyler, President Polk, President Lincoln, and President Cleveland.
4. Fanny spoke up. Fanny believed children who were blind deserved an education (She lived during the mid-1800’s and early 1900’s so this was not a common belief!). She traveled throughout the United States promoting the New York Institution for the Blind, which was a school that taught children who were blind in new ways.
5. Fanny served others. Despite being blind, Fanny helped make pills to fight cholera, knitted mittens for soldiers, counseled prisoners, and constantly spoke of God’s great love.
6. Fanny was adventurous and brave. Fanny was always interested in American Indians, and the Eel Clan of the Onondaga Indian Tribe even made her an official member.
7. Fanny loved God, and she loved His people. Fanny gave away most of the money she made, and she chose to live in one of New York City’s worst tenements. She wanted to spend her time with people who felt forgotten.
Pretty gutsy, don’t you think?
I can’t wait for you to meet Fanny, and I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do! I think Fanny fits in well with our other gutsy girls: Corrie, Betsie, and Gladys, and I pray she gets to meet lots of young readers this Christmas season.
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Your turn: Do you have any favorite hymns? Do you go to a church that sings hymns? Have you ever heard of Fanny Crosby?
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Are you joining us this month in #GutsyGirlsRead online book club? We are reading the book, Girls Who Rocked the World and discussing it on November 29th. Also, in the next few weeks, our book club will discuss must-have books for all of the girls on your Christmas list. We’d love to have you join us and add to the conversation!