Albert Knox Dawson was born in Vincennes, Indiana, on 20 September 1885. He was the oldest son of Thomas A. Dawson and Lida T. Knox. His father was a local bank officer and real estate manager.
At an early age, Dawson began experimenting with taking pictures. Out of his fascination with photography grew a professional career as a cameraman. In 1912, Dawson started his photographic firm Brown & Dawson which was based in Stamford, Connecticut.
From November 1914 until February 1916, Dawson was a photographer at the European front. His regular news pictures were distributed through Underwood & Underwood. His documentary films were released by the American Correspondent Film Company. Dawson contributed to the following motion pictures: The Battle and Fall of Przemysl, The Battles of A Nation, System - The Secret of Success, Friends and Foes, and The Warring Millions/Fighting Germans. He was attached to the German, Austrian and Bulgarian armies.
Dawson was among the most active American photographers during World War I. In 1917-1918, he was a commissioned captain at the US Signal Corps and in charge of the military photographic laboratory.
After the war, he worked in the tourist trade for the American Express Company. Albert Dawson died in New York City in 1967.