Dawson was scarcely heard as a first name before the debut of Dawson's Creek in 1998, at which point it leaped up more than 550 places in one year. The character Dawson Leery, played by James Van Der Beek, was a teen favorite until the show's demise in 2003, but the name has retained its popularity, still at Number 315.
An offshoot of the David nickname Daw, Dawson could make a nice tribute to a namesake David. Also a common surname, there have been noted Dawsons from footballer Len to actress Rosario to the Leonardo Di Caprio character in Titanic, Jack Dawson.
In literature, Dawson Fairchild is a novelist character in William Faulkner's second novel, Mosquitoes.