Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915), hymn-writer and evangelist, was born in Putnam County, New York. Blind from an early age, Crosby memorized several books of the Bible as well as poetry. After attending New York School for the Blind, Crosby married and set herself to writing poetry and hymns. Her style of writing influenced contemporary gospel songs, and several of her hymns, such as “Blessed Assurance,” were used by song-writer Ira Sankey during Moody’s revival campaigns. Crosby was also a popular speaker and evangelist; but despite her fame, she desired to live a simple life and charged very little for her hymns. Crosby remains the most prolific hymn-writer to date.
For further reading see E.L. Blumhofer, Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby (Eardmans, 2005).