Johannes Friedrich Wilhelm Grosskopf was born on 25 November, 1885, as the son of
a Lutheran minister. His mother came from a family of missionaries.
He matriculated from Grey-College in Bloemfontein and studied languages at the Stellenbosch University, (MA 1906).
After a year of teaching, he continued his studies in Europe where he read Literature, Law and Economy at universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (1908 - 1913). He obtained a Dr. jur. at the University of Leiden.
Grosskopf took part in General Pienaar's rebellion and turned journalist and editor of Ons Vaderland and Die Volksblad. In 1920 he became professor of Political Science at Stellenbosch University and Head of Economy at the Department of Agriculture in 1935. In the same year he joined Sangiro on an expedition to German East Africa.
He published his first short stories in 1903/04 in The South African News and other stories in Ons Moedertaal and Die Huisgenoot. He did many translations from French, German and Swedish, was interested in the Arts and published a book on Pierneef.
Johannes Grosskopf died on 3 July, 1948, at Pretoria.