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Downtime Project Collection

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: DTF
Date: 10 Jun 2021

Biographical History

The Downtime Project was initiated by the Man On The Street (MOTS) Library, a repository established by Alan Wahlstrom in 1988 that aimed to collect and preserve stories from common people. Wahlstrom defined it as "a repository where anyone at all, regardless of whom, could place their words, art, ideas, opinions...whatever... for the public to free[ly] access." At the end of 1991, MOTS Library started the Downtime Project, requesting submissions from incarcerated Americans that documented their life as prisoners. The library received hundreds of submissions from across the United States.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Downtime Collection includes writings, artwork, poetry/lyrics, and journals submitted by incarcerated individuals across the United States.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is unprocessed and remains in original order.


Access Restrictions:

The collection is currently unprocessed and not available for research. Please contact SCRC for more information.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Downtime Project.



Genres and Forms

Drawings (visual works)
Lyric poetry.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Downtime Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Alan Wahlstrom, 2021.

Table of Contents


An inventory has not yet been created for this collection. Please contact the Repository listed above for more information.