BEER, RACHEL (Richa ; 1858–1927), owner and editor of the Sunday Times, London, 1893–1904. Rachel Beer was born in Bombay, the daughter of Sasson David *Sassoon and Flora (Farḥa) Reuben of Baghdad. She was an infant when the family settled in England. In an age which afforded women little scope, she displayed both character and talent. For two years she worked as an unpaid hospital nurse, and in 1887 married Frederick Arthur Beer, owner of the Observer. She became a contributor to the paper, and later its editor. In 1893 she bought its rival the Sunday Times which she edited while retaining her position on the Observer. Under her control the Sunday Times changed its outlook from independent liberal to non-partisan. She was also a composer and published a piano sonata and a piano trio. The first woman ever to edit a Fleet Street newspaper, in the 1890s she obtained one of the great "scoops" of the age for the Observer when she obtained proof that the documents used to convict Alfred *Dreyfus in France had been forged. Siegfried *Sassoon (1886–1967), the famous poet, was her nephew.
C. Roth, The Sassoon Dynasty (1941); B. Falk, Bouquets for Fleet Street (1951). add. bibliography: D. Griffiths (ed.), Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422–1992 (1992), 98; S. Jackson, The Sassoons: Portrait of a Dynasty (1998); C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1961), index; odnb online.