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Spector, Norman B.



Norman Bernard Spector was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 2, 1921. He took a B.S. in education with a major in French in 1940, an M.S. in education in 1942, and a Ph.D. in French in 1950 with all degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

During World War II, Spector served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in French North and West Africa. From 1942 to 1943 he was an army interpreter and translator. Spector attained the rank of first lieutenant and completed his service in 1946 as an air and base intelligence officer. He returned to the University of Pennsylvania in 1947 as an assistant instructor, then instructor of Romance languages while completing his doctorate.

In 1952 Spector joined the Northwestern University faculty as an instructor in Romance languages; in 1955 he was promoted to the rank of assistant professor. In 1959 Spector joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as an associate professor of French. He held a visiting professorship at Yale, teaching graduate students in 1964-1965. In 1966 he left the University of Chicago for Oberlin College where he was named professor and chair of the Department of Romance Languages. In 1968, Spector returned to Northwestern accepting an appointment as professor of French. From 1968 to 1978, he served as chair of Northwestern's Department of French and Italian.

While at Northwestern, Spector developed a core of curriculum of medieval studies; devised and taught a variety of courses; and published numerous articles, reviews, and translations. His translations ranged from the medieval romance of Tristan and Iseult to legal documents. At the time of his death on January 3, 1986, Spector's major bilingual verse edition of the complete fables of LaFontaine was nearly ready for publication by the Northwestern University Press; a memorial fund was established to enable its completion.

Spector was active also in administrative work. In addition to chairing Northwestern's Department of French and Italian, he served on the University's Concora Lectures and Human Relations committees.

Spector married Carolyn Gaines. The couple had two children, Robert and Miriam, and later divorced.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Norman B. Spector (1921-1986) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/12/3
Abstract Norman B. Spector was a professor of French at Northwestern University from 1968-1986. From 1968 to 1978, he served as chair of Northwestern's Department of French and Italian. The Norman B. Spector papers, filling eleven and one-half boxes, span the period 1956-1985 and include biographical materials; general and subject correspondence; materials concerning professional activities; drafts of lectures, published articles and reviews, and materials relating to translations; teaching files;...
Dates: 1956-1985