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James Lane Allen (December 21, 1849 - February 18, 1925) was an American novelist and short story writer whose work, including the novel A Kentucky Cardinal, often depicted the culture and dialects of his native Kentucky. His work is characteristic of the late-19th century local color era, when writers sought to capture the vernacular in their fiction. Allen has been described as "Kentucky's first important novelist." Early life and education: James Lane Allen was born near Lexington, Kentucky to 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 at the Scarlet Gate estate in Lexington in the late 1800s until age 22 years.Allen spent his youth in Lexington during the Antebellum era, the American Civil War, and the Reconstruction periods. His childhood experience heavily influenced his writing. He described living at Scarlet Gate in the introduction to A Kentucky Cardinal. Death and legacy: Allen is buried in Lexington Cemetery. At the northern edge of Gratz Park in Lexington is the "Fountain of Youth," built in memory of Allen using proceeds willed to the city by him. James Lane Allen School, an elementary school off Alexandria Drive in Lexington, Kentucky is named in his honor.