Born in Libau, Latvia. During WWII she was imprisoned in various concentration camps, and in 1947 immigrated to the United States. Spector collected many recordings of different Jewish musical cultures, including music from Iraqi, Persian, Yemenite, and Indian cultures. She documented these cultures on camera and on film, producing several documentaries, and she published many articles concerning these cultures. Spector also assembled a collection of musical instruments from across the Middle East.