Dawson was born on July 26, 1943 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1975, he started teaching French at the University of Texas at Austin. His fields of interest were eighteenth-century French literature and culture, the history of the book, and descriptive bibliography.
His collection of 18th century manuscripts and printed works is held in Texas by the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical university"s Cushing Library.
Death He died on June 5, 2007 in Paris, France.