Originally devised as a memory system in the 1890s by William Joseph Ennever, the system was taught via correspondence from the Pelman Institute in London (named after Christopher Louis Pelman). It was advertised as a system of scientific mental training which strengthened and developed one's mind just as physical training strengthened your body. It was developed to expand "Mental Powers in every direction" and "remove those tendencies to indolence and inefficiency".
The system promised to cure a range of problems such as forgetfulness, depression, phobia, procrastination, and "Lack of System".
Pelmanism was practised and promoted by former British prime minister Herbert Asquith, Sir Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scout movement), novelist Sir Rider Haggard, playwright Jerome K. Jerome, and composer Dame Ethel Smyth as well as thousands of less-famous Britons.
It is seen by some as quirky and eccentric.
- "The Pelman School of Memory, The Pelman Institute and Pelmanism". Ennever / Enever family history & ancestry (ennever.com). Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson (2010). ISBN 978-0802119445
- The Great Silence: 1918–20, Living in the Shadow of the Great War: Juliet Nicolson Review of Nicolson (2010).
- Pelmanism. Notice concerning a recent donation to the Psychology Collection.