James Lane Allen
James Lane Allen (December 21, 1849 - February 18, 1925) was an American novelist and short story writer whose work, including the Kentucky Cardinal novel, often depicted the culture and dialects of his native Kentucky. His works are characteristic of the local color era of the late 19th century, when writers sought to capture the folk language in their work of art. Allen has been described as "the first major Kentucky novelist." James Lane Allen was born near Lexington, Kentucky, with Richard and Helen Jane (Foster) Allen on December 21, 1849. Allen, the youngest child in the family, had four sisters Lydia, May, Sally and Annie, and two brothers, John and Henry. Allen lived on the Scarlet Gate estate in Lexington in the late 1800s until he was 22 years old. Allen spent his youth in Lexington during the Antebellum era, the US Civil War, and periods of Reconstruction. His childhood experiences greatly influenced his writing. He described life in Scarlet Gate in an introduction to the Cardinal of Kentucky. In 1893, Allen moved to New York, where he lived until his death. He authored Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and other popular magazines of the time. His novels include The Choir Invisible, which was a very popular bestseller in 1897. Allen died "from insomnia" in 1925 and is buried in the Lexington Cemetery. On the northern edge of Graz Park in Lexington is the "Fountain of Youth", built in memory of Allen using his proceeds to the city. The James Lane Allen School, an elementary school on the Alexandrian Road in Lexington, Kentucky, is named after him.