Today, Rachel Beer would be diagnosed as suffering from a nervous breakdown. But in 1903, the three doctors came to a radically different conclusion: the woman had clearly lost her mind. Her plight excited no interest, and within months it was as if she had never existed. Yet not only had Rachel been the very first female editor of a Fleet Street newspaper, but she had simultaneously edited both the Observer and the Sunday Times while also writing regular columns and conducting interviews that set the agenda for national debate. Another 80 years would elapse before another woman was (wrongly) hailed as the first female editor of a national paper.
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