This virtual exhibit portrays the women who lived and worked in the coastal communities of Newfoundland and Labrador prior to Confederation. Before joining Canada in 1949 the Dominion of Newfoundland was made up of hundreds of small outports, sustained by an inshore, household-based fishery. In a diversity of ways, women were viewed as the backbone of this industry. Equally diverse, we hope, are the archival images, sound clips and documents drawn together in this exhibit. These were gathered with the help and resources of many women and men. This includes the work of early photographers both amateur and professional, the stories left behind by diarists and faithful letter writers, the merchant's story told through meticulous bookkeeping files, profiles written in community newspapers, students who returned to their home communities with tape recorders and carefully crafted questions to ask their mothers, uncles, aunts and grandparents about life before Confederation. Finally, this exhibit is a celebration of archives and the work of archivists, and also the people who recognized the importance of the photos, letters, files and diaries that came into their possession, through chance or inheritance, and who made the choice to deposit and preserved these gems of history, to share with the rest of us.