A Kentucky Cardinal is American writer James Lane Allen's third novel.
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." In 1893 Allen moved to New York City, where he lived until his death.
He was a contributor to Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and other popular magazines of the time. His novels include The Choir Invisible, which was a very popular best seller in 1897. 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.