The analyses of Broxburn (Scotland), Pumpherston (Scotland), Armadale (Scotland), Australian, and Knightsbridge oil shales were given. Also, the action of nitric acid and solvents on some of the oil shales was determined. Carbon-hydrogen ratios of the oil shales varied from 6 to more than 8, and the shales with the lowest ratio (most hydrogen per carbon) produced the largest amount of oil from a given amount of organic matter. There was little resinous material in the oil shales, and most of the organic matter was insoluble in organic solvents. Nitric acid oxidized Australian torbanite, Broxburn shale, New Battle cannel coal (Scotland), and Glenfullock peat to organic acids. The hydrogen content of the organic acids obtained by oxidizing the following materials increased from ordinary coal to cannel coal to peat to Broxburn shale to torbanite. The organic substance in oil shale is a decomposition product of vegetable matter similar to that found in peat and cannel coal, and it was produced by a definite combination of external conditions.