Grossmann was born in Philadelphia and now resides in Blue Bell Hill, a Philadelphia neighborhood near Fairmount Park, the largest city park in the United States. She lives about a mile for Roxborough where she grew up and where her parents owned and operated Grace Laboratories, a medical facility from 1946 through the 1980s. They gave her a camera as a present when she was eight years old, which evidently “planted a seed.” She attended Quaker schools from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, first at the Greene Street Friends School and then at Friends Central, where she met husband-to-be, David Haugaard. “We weren’t High School sweethearts,” Grossmann says. “David called me when I was sick in bed with Mono, when I’d returned to Philadelphia after college.”
Her undergraduate career began at another Quaker school, Wilmington College, in Clinton County, Ohio. She transferred to the Pennsylvania State University campus at York for two trimesters before moving on to the main campus, where she earned her B.A. in Journalism / News Writing with a concentration in photojournalism. Grossmann studied review writing and in-depth journalism for her major but at the same time immersed herself in the darkroom. In the mid-1970s at Penn State her photography was exhibited in a student show, in a dual show with a graduate assistant and she had a solo show at Kern Gallery.
After graduation in 1976, Grossmann, along with many recent graduates, struggled with the difficult job market. She moved to New York, found some custom dark room work and took advantage of the city’s cultural treasures --- independently studying the photography and painting of such masters as Stieglitz, Monet and Georgia O’Keefe. On returning to Philadelphia, some of her photographs were published in the Old City Digest and, starting in 1979, more than thirty of her pictures were featured in Clark DeLeon’s column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. For more than two years she was a freelancer with the Philadelphia Daily News and other publications. After she won the Best Of Show prize in the annual Philadelphia Press Photographers Competition for a photograph of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Daily News hired her as a staff photographer. More awards followed, including a First Place for National News Picture Story presented by the University of Missouri for her nine-image study of the second Vietnam War Memorial entitled “The Longest War”. The New Jersey Press Photography Association named her New Jersey Photographer of the Year in 1984, 1988 and 1990.
Grossmann was on the staff of the Philadelphia Daily News from 1983 through 1997, during which time the newspaper eliminated its darkroom process in favor of a computerized system. She taught herself to use Macintosh Photoshop and this combined with a class she’d taken about the internet were part of what spurred her to enter a Masters Degree program in Instructional Technology And Multi-Media at Philadelphia College Of Textiles And Science, which became Philadelphia University. In 1998 she received her Masters Degree and launched her own business, Philly New Media, which designs, "attractive web sites that are easy to navigate." She was inspired in part by the idea that individuals could be empowered by the internet and that web design was a way of helping them express themselves to a wide audience that had previously been available only to corporations.